Currently, there is a series of regional official kick-off events of the Research Cluster “Excellence in School Education” (LemaS, ‘Leistung macht Schuule’) and the Project Schools in collaboration with the Ministries of Education in all of the Federal States of Germany. These regional meetings are the first opportunity for the researchers of the project and the 300 cooperating schools as well as for the federal states’ school administrations and coordinators to get into contact, exchange their ideas and views and to plan the subsequent steps of collaboration.
These conferences are quite exciting for all of us since they offer schools, administrators and Ministries the chance to present and discuss the philosophy and programme of this complex nationwide project. Also, it is a great opportunity for the teachers and coordinators of the project schools to network and communicate their views, needs and states of development in the field of education of the potentially excellent and the gifted and talented students.
In the Hesse kick-off event at Hansenberg Castle Boarding School (21st February 2018) and in the Rhineland-Palatinate event in Speyer (1st March 2018) a pedagogical or psychological scientist (Prof. Dr. Christian Fischer in Hesse, Prof. Dr. Franzis Preckel in Rhineland-Palatinate) and the author of this blog are introducing the research project and its philosophy in a joint keynote.
Even such a seemingly minor issue is somewhat remarkable since the interdisciplinary collaboration between the educational and psychological sciences and the disciplinary pedagogies (subject didactics, e.g. Teaching English as a Foreign Language or Teaching Mathematics) is a challenge and a process that all of the researchers in the cluster need to understand and manage.
Apart from events like the ones at Hansenberg Castle and in Speyer, it is therefore part of the programme of the research cluster to develop various platforms, networks and events for interdisciplinary exchange between the participating scholars and sciences.
Enthusiasm and Commitment
It’s an impression only, but counter to the skepticism and prejudices we often read and hear about schools and teachers in mainstream discourses, at Hansenberg Castle it was a great experience to see how enthusiastic and committed teachers and administrators were whenever it came to ideas about how to best create and develop further the conditions and pedagogical orientations that we can offer the young generation in our schools.
And last but not least it needs to be mentioned that these young people played themselves an active part in this event: it was Hansenberg students who ran the show, on stage, where they presented scenes and songs from a self-produced musical, and backstage, where they were in charge of the technical equipment and support. With regard to all of these observations, there is good reason to believe that this whole excellence initiative and endeavor may well become a success story.Press Release on the occasion of the Hesse kick-off event (in German) Presentation of the Research Cluster on the website of the Hesse Ministry of Education (in German)