What are political and legal sociological aspects

“We try to reconcile political, sociological and economic education.” Five questions for Tim Engartner

Tim Engartner is professor for didactics of the social sciences with a focus on political education at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and director of the academy for educational research and teacher training there. In a short interview, he gives insights into his research on political education in schools and talks about the benefits of interdisciplinarity through social science education.


Prof. Dr. Tim Engartner (Photo: Uwe Dettmar)

Tim Engartner is professor for didactics of the social sciences with a focus on political education at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and director of the academy for educational research and teacher training there. In a short interview, he gives insights into his research on political education in schools and talks about the benefits of interdisciplinarity through social science education.

 

1. What is your current and what was your last research project on political education?

We have just completed the “Böckler School” project, in which we designed a concept for socio-economic education and developed teaching materials. We are currently working on the development of a curriculum for the bilingual subject Politics, Economics & Culture as well as the evaluation of teaching / learning processes in simulation games. As part of the “Teacher Education Quality Offensive”, we are also looking into the question of how the ability to reflect as part of professional teaching perception can be promoted in the various phases of teacher training through video-based online teaching-learning formats.

2. Which of your research results do you think are particularly relevant for the practice of civic education?

In addition to the “Böckler Schule” project, I consider a study that we were able to complete at the end of 2018 to be particularly relevant. In it we investigated the question of the extent to which economics is responding to the call for more pluralism. Critics call for greater theoretical diversity, more interdisciplinarity and an expansion of the repertoire of methods. We asked economics students and the results surprised us: Economics students miss social science access and interdisciplinary references to related subjects. In our opinion, this leads to the conclusion that a separate subject “economics” also negates the interests of students, as sociological, political, historical and legal references are threatened to be ignored.

 

3. In your opinion, which topics in the context of political education should be researched?

Under the auspices of increasing populism, it seems to me to be necessary to research the widespread knowledge in educational psychology that the acquisition of knowledge is not a purely rational business. In political education in particular, it usually takes place against the background of action-relevant circumstances and emotionally charged conditions.

4. What benefits can a dialogue between science and practice as well as an exchange between and within the scientific disciplines bring for political education?

The fundamental openness towards neighboring social science disciplines seems to me to be essential in order to come to consistent conclusions in social science education following the didactic principles of problem, living environment and situation orientation. In terms of practice, it is significant that political issues that concern people almost always have an impact on their personal living environment. Therefore, our interest in knowledge should not be limited to cognitive aspects, but should include affective and conative factors. Regardless of whether attitudes are aimed at people, groups, institutions and / or problems, these factors function in social science subjects as both learning prerequisites and educational goals.

 

5. The Specialist office for political education has a Political Education Research Mapdesigned to exchange and to promote cross-field collaboration: between and within scientific disciplines, but also between science and practice. You are represented there with an entry. Which contacts or inquiries from other scientists, practitioners or other interested parties would you be happy to receive?

Basically, we look forward to all kinds of cooperation, whereby here in Frankfurt we have a particular focus on the integration of the social science sub-disciplines, that is, we try to reconcile political, sociological and economic education.

 

Published on 07/08/2019

 

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