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The Centre for Teacher Education

Approximately 15,000 students are studying for a teaching degree at the University of Cologne. This makes the University of Cologne one of the largest teacher training institutions in Europe. The Centre for Teacher Education is a joint point of contact for all teacher students, housing the Advisory Centre, the Examination Office, the Graduate School of Teacher Education as well as coordinating centres for future-oriented aspects of teacher education under one roof. The Centre for Teacher Education is a central scientific institution of the rectorate in the scope of the Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies. It operates across the university and its faculties and is in constant exchange with university and practical teacher education institutions as well as the relevant ministries. Its task is to accompany the prospective teachers from the orientation internship in the first year of their study to the final degree and, where applicable, also during their doctorate degree. In addition, it deals with social issues such as inclusion and migration, diversity and equal opportunities in society, schools and education, internationalisation or digitalisation.

Anticipating the future

With a constantly changing society, the demands placed on teachers are constantly changing. It is the university’s task to prepare the students of the teaching profession for a world of tomorrow, in which they then prepare their pupils for a world of the future. That is why the Centre for Teacher Education has made it its task to actively deal with current and future changes in schools, the education system, and society. Inclusion, internationalisation, diversity, digitalisation, or educational justice are topics that are currently determining the discussion about education. Their implementation in the education system represents a challenge with which the Centre for Teacher Education is actively involved in projects, areas of work and public events. It is the aim of the Centre to always open up new perspectives for the future.

Inclusion

Inclusion is one of the prominent topics in and around school. Pupils with diagnosed special educational needs are now learning together with other children, both in primary and secondary schools. This requires new teaching methods. However, there is still only one form of heterogeneity in the focus: the so called “disability”. The Centre for Teacher Education pursues an inclusion concept that goes far beyond the mere integration of pupils with diagnosed special educational needs into the general school system. Inclusion is rather perceived as a comprehensive concept of social heterogeneity, variety and diversity.

Diversity

Pupils as well as teachers have different biographies, different needs, and individual desires. This diversity enriches the everyday life in school and thus also contributes to an enrichment in society. Approaches that perceive diversity as deficient overlook the fact that change and diversity are indispensable for a society to evolve. Attempts are for example made to compensate for the language deficits of refugee or immigrant children and young people, while at the same time learning foreign languages is the declared aim of the education system. However, diversity above all offers opportunities: The multilingualism of pupils, for example, is an important resource that can be used to enrich lessons and develop new concepts.

Educational participation and equal opportunities

One of the most pressing social issues of our time is to provide for educational participation for pupils and students likewise. The socio-economic background still determines educational success. The reasons for educational disadvantage are manifold: migration background, gender or social milieu have a bearing on educational careers. The Centre for Teacher Education initiates public discussion on educational justice and actively works on concepts to enable educational participation for all pupils equally. This includes preparing teacher training students to recognise educational disadvantages and to deal with them adequately at school.

Internationalisation

"Think global – act local". Internationalisation of teacher education means much more than creating the necessary structures for counselling for internships abroad and international mobility or their funding. It may be rewarding to take existing local resources into account as they can also be used profitably. Internationalisation encourages student teachers to deal with culturally and socially diverse classes and learning groups in a confident and pedagogically successful way. Didactics and educational sciences benefit from the interaction of theory and practice if it is internationally oriented. It inspires to find answers to the challenges facing the German education system and school practice. Innovative, international ideas and perspectives can support schools and teachers in developing their intercultural competence. Experiences made abroad encourage students and prospective teachers to perceive themselves more as global actors.

Digitalisation

Hardly any other innovation has changed society in the last years as radically as digitalisation. It is the task of schools to prepare pupils for a future in which completely new jobs and ways of working as well as living together will be the rule. This requires new didactic concepts for teacher training. In order to actively participate in the rising knowledge society, pupils must be able to master digital media safely. In contrast to many other professions, however, digital media are not being used on an everyday basis in teaching. The Centre for Teacher Education therefore supports students and teachers to build up and further develop media didactic skills already during their studies as well as during their professional life. Students and experienced teachers learn how to include digital learning opportunities in their lessons and how to convey a competent and critical use of media to pupils. During the practical phases, teacher students get to know the potential of new media.

Our tasks and offers

The Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Cologne offers a wide range of services to everyone involved in teacher training:

  • Pupils are motivated to inform themselves about the teaching profession as possible career perspective.
  • Students are accompanied and advised in all phases of their studies, through special seminars, internships, e-portfolios, or personal counselling.
  • In the Graduate School of Teacher Education, young scientists are supported in realizing their doctoral studies and building a scientific careers.
  • The Centre for Teacher Education is an active partner for representatives from the faculties, departments and the administration of the University of Cologne with whom they jointly shape teacher training studies as well as trendsetting projects on, for example, inclusion, internationalization, or diversity.
  • Teachers benefit from further education opportunities, joint projects at schools and an exchange within the large network of the Centre for Teacher Education.
  • The Centre for Teacher Education is a strong cooperation partner for institutions involved in teaching and research and maintain an active, international exchange on progressive topics related to school and education.