Mission Statement for Teacher Training Education at RWTH Aachen University from January 25, 2006



Teacher training is a crucial component of teaching and research at RWTH. The high importance of this educational field for the future development of our society is emphasized by RWTH; the university plays an active role in implementing current reform processes and is considerably involved in the futher development of teacher training education through profiles specific to Aachen. RWTH Aachen already composed its thoughts about teacher training education in a mission statement in 1998, the basic principles of which are now being revisited and continued. "The quality of upbringing and education influences the life perspectives of our society in a particular way and our society's chances for the future; its social collaboration, people's ability to live democratically and peacefully with one another, and their economic continued existence."

Taking this into account, the updated mission statement illustrates RWTH's focuses in teacher training education. Goal processes and commitments for central emphases in this field of training have been determined to contribute to quality assurance. The mission statement offers students and prospective students information and orientation.

Education and Training at RWTH

The mission statement serves a complimentary function with regards to the current discussions about the reform of teacher training education. It permanently holds down the valid principles. The starting point for these principles is RWTH's role as a place for education and training. With this role RWTH possesses a particular responsibility towards its graduates and to their future employers.

In this light, RWTH's goal for teacher training is to qualify budding teachers, so that they are able to guarantee a school education and training at a high level and assume shared responsibility for the quality of educational processes in our society. RWTH also emphasized that the teachers' skills are of decisive importance for the educational background of future students.

Teacher Training Courses of Study

RWTH trains students for teaching at vocational schools and at Gymnasien and Gesamtschulen. The broad spectrum of subjects offered for teacher training studies at RWTH enables students a diverse path for learning subject-specific, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary problem formulations and solutions. Furthermore, students at RWTH have the chance to study in an environment with engineers, natural scientists, humanists, social scientists, and economists, whereby the application orientation and practical feasibility of theoretical knowledge is particular emphasized. These specific strengths are to be preserved as RWTH's skill in teacher training. As a result, future teachers can acquire the ability to more centrally see and productively process the similarities and differences, as well as the mutual dependence of forms of knowledge and action, which shape the coexistence of humans.

A teacher's profession is characterized by high demands for technical knowledge, didactic and pedagogical skills, and personal qualities. The ability to reflect, flexibility, and the willingness to professionally promote students' learning and support them in their personal development have been necessary for this profession for decades. It is only possible to partially predict which concrete content and pedagogical demands future teachers will have to meet during their careers. For this reason, it is important to create a firm foundation of knowledge and skills during training, that enables graduates to independently further develop.

Scientific foundations and theories are at the foreground of the university phase. They ensure the development of scientifically founded competence, which will be further developed in later phases. Solid technical, educational, and subject-didactic training, which enables graduates to actively examine their subject area, is indispensable. Training is stretched over two subjects and education, thus somewhat restricting it. As a result, exemplary immersion at a high level is of the utmost importance. RWTH emphasizes the value of teachers' technical training as an indispensable foundation for the adequate preparation of future student generations for studies and career. It expressly underlines that the professional promotion of learning processes within the field of schools cannot touch upon experience-based learning alone, but rather requires scientifically funded subject-didactic and educational skills.

Career Field Orientation

Early encounters with schools as a professional field is vital, in order to exemplarily address and practice the implement of acquired knowledge for school practice. The goal of university teacher training at RWTH Aachen however cannot be teachers' entire developed professional skills. The content of the technical training correlate to the current content of school lessons. An essential component of education and technical training is the facilitation of fundamental knowledge for professional teaching and learning. Furthermore, the possibilities and boundaries of the feasibility of theoretical concepts and findings are summarized, particularly in relation to practical phases in schools. Acquired skills for mastering practical school problems are also tested.

The longterm goal of this type of career field orientation is to make it possible to experience the connection of theory and practice, which are open to systematic differentiations in the second and third phases of teacher training.

RWTH also takes its' students prospects into account, so that graduates have good chances in career fields outside of schools as well.

Teacher Training Center - LBZ

As a central scientific institution, the RWTH Aachen Teacher Training Center contributes to career-field oriented teacher training. Its general responsibility is to promote and accompany multidisciplinary dialogs in teacher education between institutes .

A focus of the work is placed on the conceptional design of theory-driven case studies at RWTH and their implementation in educational studies under the central theme of learning through research. In order to intesify the relevance to real life practice, concepts oriented towards the use of new media in schools and lessons are developed and tested. An additional work focus is coordination of the RWTH-specific module "Faszination Technik".

Under the motto "Faszination Technik" all RWTH Aachen teacher training students complete a multidisciplinary module on technology education. Interdisciplinary, technical, practical, and pedagogical-didactic approaches and examinations illustrate the rich spectrum of technology and its relevance in society.

The goal is promote students to have a responsible, open stance towards technology, enabling them to awaken and support pupils' interest in technology.

Collaboration with Other Institutions

The first phase of teacher training encompasses practical studies, an essential component, and is also the foundation of the second and third phase. For this reason, RWTH actively searches for dialogue and collaboration with other institutions in school and teacher education, particularly with schools and Studienseminars, but also with institutions for extracurricular internships.

Continuing Education

Continuing education for teachers in a crucial prerequisite to maintaining their skills and improving school-level education. Scientists at RWTH can assess the relevance of new technical developments and paradigm shifts for their future importance in industry, economy, and school lessons. They can also forward this knowledge. For this reason, RWTH has an obligation to regularly offer continuing education courses in a broad spectrum for teachers. This service will be expanded and advanced in the coming years.