Great teacher?

When pupils fail, we quickly look for the causes in classes that are too large, in poor technical equipment, in the parents’ home. Yet it is the teacher who is most important for success at school.

Extensive studies have found that a good relationship between teachers and students is the most important factor for learning success – but teachers question their behaviour and their teaching far too rarely. What makes a good teacher?

Reporter Johan von Mirbach meets teachers and takes a critical look at their training – and at the bigger picture. Studies still teach mainly subject knowledge and too little pedagogical competence. Moreover, some students are completely unsuited for the teaching profession and realise this too late.

At the University of Passau, there is an aptitude test that is unique in Germany. The prospective students present themselves like in an assessment centre. Norbert Seibert, professor of school education, advises some of them against studying at the end. The test is voluntary. Things are different in Finland. At the University of Helsinki, they want to exclude candidates who are pedagogically unsuitable from the outset. Only ten per cent of all teacher trainees pass the test. Unlike in Germany, the students gain practical experience in schools from the beginning, participate in lessons and are assessed by the teachers.

But of all things, many teachers resist assessments. The Hermann Lietz School on Spiekeroog takes a different approach. It follows the findings of the New Zealand education researcher John Hattie. His thesis: teachers need feedback in order to optimally adjust their methods to the students. That’s why students assess teaching, comprehensibility and also the relationship of trust. For a long time, teachers were lone warriors. Slowly, that is changing. At the Heinz Brandt School in Berlin, multi-professional teams of teachers and educators work together, consult and support each other. There are still too few of these approaches. It is time to take a closer look at the quality of the teachers.

Broadcast date Donnerstag, 18. Oktober 2018 um 20:15 Uhr auf 3sat
Length 45 Min.
Written and directed by: Angela Scheele, Johan von Mirbach
Camera: Steve Kfoury, Frank Meyer, Johannes Straub
Editor: Ramon Urselmann
Editorial advisor: Katharina Finger, Nicole Schleider
Production: Ulrike Schwerdtner, Rainer Leske
Producer: Anna Grün
Filming location: Deutschland, Finnland