Studying Pedagogy and Teaching Abroad

The word pedagogue comes from ancient Greek. Paidagōgós was the name of a slave in ancient times who was responsible for the upbringing of boys and who accompanied them on their way to school.

Today the word pedagogue not only describes the educator, but also the teacher himself. Both have made the upbringing and education of children and young people their profession. However, the range of subjects that can be taught to students is very large. In addition, the children and young people have to be taught and encouraged in very different ways, depending on their age and personal requirements. A large number of study options have therefore emerged in the field of education .

The teacher training course

In Germany, teacher training in particular is highly differentiated. Prospective students should first consider the type of school in which they want to teach.

Become a teacher … but for which target group?

According to MCAT-TEST-CENTERS, a basic distinction is made in the field of teaching between:

  • Teaching qualification for the primary level (elementary schools)
  • Teaching qualification for lower secondary level (secondary schools, comprehensive schools and grammar schools up to and including grade 10)
  • Teaching qualification for upper secondary level (grammar schools including upper level and vocational schools)

There are also courses in special education , i.e. for teachers who teach students with special needs.

Different (federal) states, different customs

Since the training of teachers in Germany is a matter for the federal states, the study regulations in the individual federal states differ greatly from one another. In some cases there are individual courses of study for each type of school. In some cases, however, several types of school are combined in one degree, for example primary and secondary school teaching or grammar school and comprehensive school.

The degrees also differ: in some federal states, students complete their studies with the first state examination, in others bachelor’s and master’s degrees have already been introduced. In the case of the latter, it should be noted that the master’s degree is equivalent to the first state examination and qualifies for the subsequent preparatory service.

What do I want to teach?

Just as important as the question of the type of school for students is the question of which subjects they would like to teach later. The range of subjects and the possible combinations are quite different at the individual universities. In principle, the teaching degree for the lower secondary level and the upper level of the gymnasium comprises two subjects . The technical training in the chosen subjects comprises four fifths of the course, the rest of their study time is devoted to pedagogical and didactic content.

Students who opt for primary school teaching or special education usually have fewer subjects to choose from. At many universities, for example, German or mathematics are compulsory for primary school teachers. The educational content is also weighted more heavily in the course .

The teachers for vocational schools includes one half studying a vocational subject such as electrical engineering or nursing science . The other half comprises a general educational subject and pedagogical and didactic content.

Adult education

In addition to the classic teacher training courses, some universities now also offer courses that prepare specifically for teaching activities in adult education . In the courses offered, students learn how to prepare specialist knowledge for adults. The management skills required to run educational institutions are also taught.

English crash courses

If you want to teach English at language schools and similar institutions later , you can acquire a TESL / TEFL certificate . This is possible within teacher training courses or in special non-university crash courses. The abbreviation TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second / Foreign Language . The course provides the didactic content necessary to teach English to non-native speakers. For the non-university courses in particular, most of the participants must have a very good command of English .

Academic training for educators

In contrast to teacher training, the academic variant of educator training is still quite new. In the course of the debates on integration and equal opportunities, Germany is following the example of other countries that have long recognized the value of higher education for educators. In the newly established courses in the field of early childhood education , students deal with the care, upbringing and education of children between the ages of zero and twelve from a scientific perspective . Socio-educational and pedagogical content, as well as knowledge from the following areas, is conveyed:

  • sociology
  • psychology
  • anthropology
  • linguistics

Requirements for studying in the field of pedagogy and teaching

Prospective teachers and educators should in any case enjoy dealing with children and young people and have pedagogical skills . Depending on which professional field the student is aiming for, additional skills are also required. Secondary school teachers should be able to transfer their enthusiasm for their subjects to their students, while educators and primary school teachers do far more educational work. Special educators also take on therapeutic tasks. Different prerequisites are necessary for the course depending on the chosen subject . In any case, a good command of English is helpful to understand the technical literature, some of which is in English.

Occupational fields

For prospective teachers in Germany, the first stage of their training ends with the first state examination or master’s degree. You now have to complete the 18- to 24-month preparatory service, also known as the legal clerkship .

During this time, they work at schools, where they sit in on colleagues’ lessons and teach independently. They are regularly checked and assessed by specialist managers during class visits. In addition, the trainee teachers attend seminars in which further pedagogical, didactic and school law content is on the curriculum. The preparatory service ends with the second state examination. After that, the teachers can join the German school service as civil servants or employees .

Graduates of the adult education course do not have to complete a legal traineeship in order to enter professional life. They pass on their knowledge as specialist lecturers at adult education centers, educational academies and other adult education institutions or work in the management of these educational institutions.

A course of study opens up far more professional opportunities for educators than a traditional apprenticeship. Academically trained educators often take on management functions in daycare centers, kindergartens and crèches after a while. You also have the opportunity to switch to other areas of work and, for example, to work in family centers or youth welfare offices.

What are the advantages of studying abroad in the field of pedagogy and teaching?

For aspiring foreign language teachers, it is almost essential to perfect their language skills in one or more semesters abroad . But everyone else also benefits from a stay abroad. After all, the students can not only expand their personal horizons. You can also chat with educators from around the world about the education of children, teenagers and adults.

In this way, students sharpen their professional profile and also collect other important additional qualifications . For example, you learn to communicate across cultural boundaries and acquire skills such as flexibility and assertiveness. These are qualities that budding educators and teachers can make good use of.

Studying Pedagogy and Teaching