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Ten years Schleswig-Holstein Summer University – a success story of synergy between teachers and science

31. August 2017

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Schleswig-Holstein Summer University for educators. Between the 24th and the 26th of August 2017, 57 teachers and principals traveled to Sankelmark Academy near the city of Flensburg to meet with researchers and scientists. The event, founded in 2008 by the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Education and the Leibniz Institute for Science
and Mathematics Education (IPN), was once again sold out. This year’s subject was “Classroom Teaching – Circumstances, Conditions, and Effects. – Results of Research in Education.”

German and Swiss scientists presented the latest findings in educational research. Lectures were followed by immersion workshops. Schleswig-Holstein Education State Secretary Dr. Dorit Stenke opened this year’s summer university, pointing out the importance of continued education for teachers for the development of the state’s classroom education and schools in general. Professor Jens Möller of the Kiel University and Professor Ute Harms of the IPN co-hosted the event.

Classroom teaching in schools is a complex task and success is determined by many factors. The interplay of those factors culminates in the teacher. The teacher’s role in classroom education was the topic of Professor Jan Retelsdorf’s (IPN) opening lecture. Teachers, like most people, can harbor stereotypes and have preconceived notions about students which might influence the accuracy with which the teacher assesses those student’s achievements. Retelsdorf’s study shows the importance of recognizing those stereotypes and prejudgments and acknowledging them. Professor Jenny Wagner (IPN) presented results of her research on personal development and educational context. Dr. Daniela Mahler (IPN) followed with examining the question of which characteristics of a teacher actually influence teaching and learning processes, focusing particularly on the how knowledge and motivation of the teacher effects student’s achievement.

A highlight of this year’s summer university was the lecture by renowned psychologist and educational researcher Professor Elsbeth Stern of the ETH, Zurich concerning the factor of intelligence in the learning process. How to cultivate intelligent knowledge in classroom teaching was the topic of the following workshop lead by Dr. Habil. Ralph Schumacher (ETH, Zurich) presented practical examples of actual teaching units. Professor Jorge Groß’ (University Bamberg) workshop focused on the use of digital media in classroom teaching and particularly in biology education. To demonstrate the participants got to use an app for tablet computers to classify species.

In honor of the summer university’s 10th anniversary two of its founding fathers had been invited to participate in a panel discussion: former IPN director Professor Manfred Prenzel of the TU Munich, and Werner Klein, then of the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Education and Research (MBWK). They helped launch the summer university in 2008. Dr. Gabriele Romig (MBWK), Professor Elsbeth Stern, and Humboldt School principal Dagmar Vollbehr (Kiel) were also on the panel. Host Professor Ute Harms gave a summary of the summer university’s history followed by a discussion about how educational research benefits everyday teaching.

As in previous years the 10th Schleswig-Holstein Summer University was marked by a very constructive but relaxed work atmosphere, and participating teachers credited the excellent lectures and workshops for its continued popularity. Some of them return each summer and the second last week of school summer break is a reserved date in their calendar: August 9th-11th 2018 – Sankelmark – Summer University!

Prof. Dr. Ute Harms