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05/10/2021 | Press Release

DFG establishes first Research Training Group on primary school research

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is establishing a joint research training group at the University of Kassel and Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). This was announced by the DFG today (10. 5.). It will conduct research on "Fachlichkeit und Interaktionspraxis im Grundschulunterricht" (subject matter and interaction practice in elementary school teaching), combines perspectives from educational science, German didactics and mathematics didactics, and is the first ever DFG Research Training Group in elementary school education research.

Image: Sonja Rode.
Prof. Dr. Friederike Heinzel.

Smooth teaching does not have to be the best teaching - at least not if the learning success of elementary school students is taken as a yardstick. Numerous questions about suitable strategies and methods for successful classroom practice arise from this area of tension; they will be addressed over the next few years by working groups that will also include 14 DFG-funded young researchers in Kassel and Halle.

The DFG is initially establishing the Research Training Group for four and a half years. The two universities have around four million euros at their disposal. The twelve positions for doctoral students and two positions for postdocs will be shared equally between the two universities. "Both universities have an established focus on elementary school research. It is precisely the combination of the different expertise in Kassel and Halle that enables an innovative approach to elementary school research and empirical teaching quality research," explained Prof. Dr. Friederike Heinzel (Department of Educational Science/ Focus on Elementary School Pedagogy), who is coordinating the program on the part of the University of Kassel. The cut of the respective dissertation projects should enable an overarching theory formation on the topic.

"While teaching may work and appear low-friction in terms of order, its quality in terms of content can at the same time be decidedly problematic. Far too little is known about this so far," said Prof. Dr. Georg Breidenstein of the Institute for School Education and Elementary School Didactics at MLU.

In addition to Heinzel, Prof. Dr. Natalie Fischer (Department of Social Relationships in Schools), Prof. Dr. Frank Lipowsky (Department of Empirical School and Classroom Research) and Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Rathgeb-Schnierer (Department of Mathematics Didactics/ Focus on Elementary School) are involved in Kassel, as well as other colleagues in Halle.

The President of the University of Kassel, Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, was also pleased with the success: "The fact that our university is involved in the first Research Training Group in elementary school education to be funded by the DFG again confirms the excellent quality of educational science at our university. In addition, the college consolidates and expands a supra-regional cooperation. This also benefits our university as a whole."



Prof. Dr. Friederike Heinzel
University of Kassel
Department of Educational Science with a focus on elementary school pedagogy
Phone: +49 561 804-3619
E-mail: heinzel[at]uni-kassel[dot]de