Current projects and research projects

"Gedichtalternativen für Deutschland" / Poem Alternatives for Germany - With 52 lyrical contributions to cultural education through the year

In the run-up to the last federal election, "logo!" children's reporter Alexander met the top politician of the "Alternative für Deutschland", Tino Chrupalla. In the interview on September 9, 2021, the politician called for more "deutsches Kulturgut" (German cultural heritage) to be taught in German schools again and for students to learn more "German" poems by heart. When asked by the reporter, however, the politician could not give a concrete example of a poem.

The University of Bremen is sure: Pupils can do it, as well as other education experts in Bremen! That's why the project "Poem Alternatives for Germany - With 52 lyrical contributions to cultural education through the year" asks them for their favourite poem. In addition, the initiators want to know from them what contribution this poem can make to understanding our common "German cultural heritage", in other words: to contemporary cultural education, to value orientation, to aesthetic perception, and thus to strengthening social cohesion. 

In the spirit of diversity culture, poems in all languages are naturally included. In addition to the students themselves, other education experts in Bremen will be asked, for example teachers, scientists, education policy makers, cultural workers and many more. The result will be a publication in the form of an illustrated collection of poems with personal comments, which student teachers can then use in practical school phases, i.e., test and expand in their work together with students and teachers. It is planned to accompany the creation of this publication with event formats for pupils, teachers, students, education experts and other education enthusiats in Bremen. Within the framework of these events, the selected poems are to be the focus of attention, i.e., for example, presented scenically, linked to exhibition objects, and discussed in various formats. The print publication is to be accompanied by an interactive website on which all interested parties can participate with their own "Poem Alternative for Germany".

Partners: Dr. Uwe Spörl, FB 10


Dual Doctorate in Teacher Education

The graduate programme “Duale Promotion in der Lehrerbildung: Wissenschaft macht Schule” (Dual Doctorate in Teacher Education) was developed by a team of researchers at Bremen University (Creative Unit FaBiT) in 2017. In it, in-school teacher training and a didactics-oriented doctorate are combined. This innovative and unique qualification programme involves several public institutions and authorities with regard to education:

The programme also fosters cross-subject cooperation within university-based teacher education and interdepartmental cooperation among different university faculties.

In the span of four years – including one and a half years of in-school training – the dual doctorate programme provides guidance and a diverse range of learning opportunities in pursuit of professional competence and a dual qualification for its participants, who complete the programme with a didactics-focused PhD along with a teaching degree. With this, graduates of the Dual Doctorate qualify for a career in academia and are also well prepared to take on the challenges of teaching in school.

The structure of the Dual Doctorate comprises three phases:

  1. Scholarship Phase I (7 months):
    -Developing the PhD-research-project and laying the theoretical foundation of the dissertation
  2. In-school teacher training (18 months):
    -Acquiring a teaching degree/Research in action – data acquisition
  3. Scholarship Phase II (23 months):
    -Analyzing, evaluating and interpreting data and finalizing the dissertation

The current cohort consists of five scholarship holders in the fields of history education, music education, mathematics education, philosophy education,as well as inclusive English language education. This cohort is already the second to benefit from this program after the first cycle was completed at the end of 2020.


Duale Promotion

Erasmus+ Project TEACUP (Teachers Culture Pluri) 2020-2022

Joanna Pfingsthorn and Tim Giesler

The TEACUP project was an Erasmus+ (KA 203, Strategic Partnerschip) project aimed at developing educational modules in the realm of pluilingualism and pluriculturalism. A multinational project-team from the Spanish (University of Córdoba), German (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg; Universität Bremen), Poland (University of Lower Silesia) and the USA (Texas Woman’s University) collaboratively (re-)designed, evaluated, empirically (re-)tested, digitalized and documented six educational modules which e.g. contain a teaching unit, a teacher’s companion and a reflection toolkit. The modules are made available open access. The project included several international meetings and an international conference in Bremen in June 2022. The Bremen share of the project funding amounts to ca. €67.000,-.

TEACUP project

Erasmus+ Project V:InD:O:W (Virtual - Inclusive Diversity focused - Open educational - Work modules Digital Tools for Inclusive Foreign Language Education) 2021-2024

Joanna Pfingsthorn and Julia Weltgen (FB 12)

European educational policy makers envision the development of communicative competence as the main goal of institutionalized foreign language education (Council of Europe, 2001) and hope for the realization of the Barcelona Summit (2002) “mother tongue + 2” objective. Yet, learning a foreign language often proves challenging, especially to learners with special educational needs, as they experience pedagogical disadvantages because of a range of conditions stemming from biological, environmental, and psychosocial causes. International organizations such as UNESCO and the OECD see this risk and promote the implementation of inclusive education systems that enable all learners to actively engage in learning and reach their potential. However, on a practical level, not all educational systems and agents within them are truly ready to realize such task on a daily basis. In fact, some foreign language teachers even report strong feelings of being overwhelmed and disillusioned with the prospect of offering equal opportunities to all their foreign language students (Dose, 2019).

As a response to this situation, the VInDOW project proposes the development of comprehensive and versatile digital educational modules that demonstrate how the principles of inclusion – in their broad, diversity-oriented interpretation – can be applied in the field of foreign language education. Specifically, the modules combine theoretical, empirical and evidence-based knowledge, as well as insights from language teaching practice with educational policy guidelines about the following topics:

1. Dyslexia and reading skills in the FL classroom
2. Social, emotional and linguistic challenges in spoken FL communication 3. Multilingual/multicultural challenges in FL classrooms
4. Autism in the FL classroom
5. Neurodiversity as a challenge in the FL classroom

The Bremen team acts as the project coordinator. 

Fokusprojekt: Implicit attitudes towards learner diversity in inclusive foreign language education 2020-2023

Joanna Pfingsthorn and Ana Rovai

The project investigates the extent to which foreign language teachers show positive, neutral or a negative implicit attitudes towards different forms of learner diversity in the foreign language classroom and thereby also their ability to adopt the general principles of inclusive education in specific local foreign language teaching contexts. An implicit attitude is a psychological construct, defined as a broad favorable or unfavorable evaluation of an object that is introspectively unidentified or inaccurately identified. Such evaluations are generally conducted without conscious awareness (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995, p. 5), but they can influence behavioral predispositions towards the object (e.g. Gawronski & Payne, 2010). Given that certain neurocognitive, affective, linguistic and personality traits have been identified as detrimental to successful foreign language learning (e.g. Ganschow & Sparks, 1995; Nunan, 1995; Ushioda, 2008), it is conceivable that foreign language teachers evaluate those traits as more positive than other attributes that are correlated with less success, at least unconsciously and/or to some extent. If this is the case, they rely on varying positive and negative (implicit) attitudes towards different learner characteristics or forms of learner diversity, which in turn can lead to group stigmatization. This is not congruent with the fundamental assumptions of inclusive education, which call for educational systems that accommodate all learners (Clough & Corbett, 2000; Frederickson & Cline, 2009) and make participation and engagement in education accessible to all (Smith, 2008). This implies that teachers need to align not only their subject skills and knowledge to match those principles, but also their fundamental attitudes.

Explorationsprojekt: Media Meets Diversity @ School 2022-2023

Prof. Dr. Sabine Doff, Oliver Kück, Dr. Joanna Pfingsthorn

Prof. Dr. Volker Paelke, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Tannert, Alex Ackermann (University of Applied Sciences Bremen)

In the early days of the covid pandemic, schools in Bremen received an overnight supply of roughly 100000 iPads to support teachers and pupils in embracing alternative forms of teaching. This project aims to put emphasis on and experiment with the advantages of this iPad coverage by creating didactically sound and technically diverse resources specifically tailored to the medium of iPads in English lessons. Contents, goals, and methods developed in the first project year aim to especially suit pupils on the autism spectrum, with dyslexia, and/or with a plurilinguistic background. During the second project year, the resources will be evaluated through a series of tests in schools in and around Bremen. Media Meets Diversity @ School is a joint project between members of the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences and the University of Bremen. The University of Bremen funds this Explorationsprojekt with an amount of roughly 200000,- €.

SteBs (Strukturentwicklung in der Berufschullehrerbildung) 2020-2024

  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Doff
  • Dr. Claudia Fenzl
  • Prof. Dr. Alisha M. B. Heinemann
  • Prof. Dr. Falk Howe
  • Lisa Meyne
  • Irina Pavlović
  • Michael Sander
  • Dr. Andreas Saniter
  • Saman A. Sarabi
  • Nils Weinowski

The SteBs project pursues the overarching aim of structurally strengthening and further expanding vocational teacher training in Bremen and thus contributing to the Bremen vocational training dialogue. On the basis of a cross-phase and cross-subject cooperation between the actors involved in vocational teacher training, concepts for the promotion of professional competence in line with the didactical paradigm of a complete action of teachers are developed and tested.

With the overarching goal of "structural development for vocational teacher training", the SteBs project relates both to cooperation within university-based teacher training and to cooperation within the Bremen vocational training landscape. To this end, it focuses on six central points:

1.) Interdisciplinary cooperation in vocational teacher education: An interdepartmental cooperation between different university faculties responsible for vocational teacher education is to be established.

2.) Cross-phase vocational teacher training: Representatives from the university, the state institute for schools, the education authority and the vocational schools should coordinate both on an institutional and on a content-related conceptual level.

3.) Regional vocational training dialogue: Cooperation structures in vocational teacher training in Bremen with the relevant actors (e.g., vocational schools, the State Institute for Schools, chambers, social partners, companies) are to be established and made permanent.

4.) Linking vocational and general teacher training: Curricular and didactic coordination between the two areas of teacher education should exploit the potential for learning from each other.

5.) Digital competencies in vocational teacher education: Media competence as a key competence for (prospective) teachers is to be systematically promoted across all phases of vocational teacher training.

6.) Heterogeneity in vocational teacher training: Pedagogical professionalism in dealing with heterogeneous learning groups among (prospective) teachers is to be developed.



Varieties of English in Foreign Language Teacher Education (Part of Digi-Spotlights, Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung)

Joanna Pfingsthorn

English has many different national and regional varieties, and its function as a global lingua franca has led to an increase in second-language and foreign-language speakers. In many English classrooms across Germany, however, there still tends to be a focus on the standard British and/or American variety, which does not reflect the linguistic diversity that students will most likely encounter outside of the classroom. 

To better equip learners of English for interactions with English speakers (both native and non-native speakers) all over the world, they need to be exposed to and made aware of different varieties of the language. The project “Varieties of English in Foreign Language Teacher Education” aims to prepare future English teachers for the changing needs of their students by integrating linguistics, English language education and practical teaching experience.
More specifically, education students attend two seminars regarding Global Englishes in the winter semester. In the linguistics seminar, they get an overview of, for example, the spread of English and of important models and theories before zooming in on specific varieties.   In the English language education seminar, students discuss norms and variation in the ELT classroom as well as how to apply their linguistic knowledge from the other seminar when planning a lesson on varieties. Towards the end of the semester, students design and carry out teaching projects to introduce various topics related to Global Englishes in the English language classroom. This practical teaching component takes place at one of our partner schools. 

“Varieties of English in Foreign Language Teacher Education” is part of the superordinate project “Digi-Spotlights”, which aims to reduce fragmentation in higher education teacher training by creating innovative teaching formats that dovetail subject matter courses with subject matter didactics courses.

The project has now been curricularly consolidated and integrated into the MEd as a mandatory LINK module from 2023.

Varieties of English in Foreign Language Teacher Education — digital