Starting situation and goals:
The university school concept was initiated in Bavaria in 2009 on the initiative of the then Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Ludwig Spaenle in order to achieve a more purposeful networking of academic studies at the university and work at vocational schools as well as of theory and practice in the first, second and third phases of teacher training for commercial schools.
The idea of the university school is in the context of efforts to promote the effectiveness of teaching and learning processes through further professionalisation of teacher action at vocational schools. The aim is to raise awareness of evidence-based teaching through the reception of national and international teaching-learning research in conjunction with "best practice" examples of teaching practice.
The concept of the University School at the Faculty of Business Administration / the Institute of Human Resource Education & Management at LMU is an integrated component of the two Master's degree programmes in Human Resource Education & Management (Wipäd I) and Human Resource Education & Management with integrated elective (Wipäd II).
In addition to the exchange of knowledge and experience between professors, lecturers, school administrators, seminar teachers, mentors, supervising teachers and students, central importance is attached to raising awareness of central issues, problems and challenges in current professional teaching practice, as well as the joint development of proposed solutions, their implementation in professional teaching practice and joint evaluation and reflection. In addition to two institutionalised university schools (Städtische Berufsschule für Büromanagement und Industriekaufleute; Therese-von-Bayern-Schule Staatliche Berufliche Oberschule für Wirtschaft), a further thirteen municipal and state vocational cooperation schools (Fach- and Berufsoberschulen, kaufmännische Berufsschulen and Wirtschaftsschulen) with a total of 26 teaching staff are involved in the Munich university school concept of the LMU.
The compulsory module 'Subject-specific foundations of business education' consists of three courses: Lecture: 'Professional Competences', Proseminar: 'Theory meets Practice I (TmP I)' and Exercise: 'School Practical Studies (SPS)'.
- In the lecture, theoretical concepts, models and strategies on curriculum, instruction and assessment are presented and discussed.
- In the proseminar "Theory meets Practice I (TmP I)", these theoretical categories are related to concrete professional fields of action of teachers - the so-called teacher training standards according to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK). The content of these standards is worked through, corresponding observation instruments are selected or developed and, based on this, teaching activities in vocational schools are observed, systematised, discussed and jointly reflected upon.
- In the "School Practical Studies (SPS)", students are introduced to the planning, implementation and evaluation of teaching and are thus prepared for their first own teaching experiment and accompanied at the same time.
The events take place alternately in phases of plenary and small group sessions. In an overarching joint final event, observations, experiences and findings as well as theoretical concepts and models are presented together with all participants and discussed and reflected upon individually and in their context. In doing so, the students learn to perceive and understand professional teaching practice by means of theoretical categories, but also to design and critically question it with the help of these categories.
In the course of the two Master's degree programmes Wipäd I and Wipäd II, further vocational school-specific specialisations preparing for the profession of a teacher at vocational schools can be selected. For example, the course "Theory meets Practice II", which is anchored in the university school concept, in which changing topics such as "Learning Strategies", "Pedagogical Diagnosis", "Didactic Annual Planning", "Competence Orientation" etc. are offered by lecturers with practical teaching experience. Due to this close interlocking of theory and practice, networks are established that enable students to gain further practical experience at any time - even outside the ECTS calculation. Master's theses in the context of the university school can be written.
In this way, the students acquire theoretical orientation knowledge, practical action knowledge and at the same time are stimulated to critical self-reflection through the "university school concept" and the associated interlocking of theory and practice.
Coordinating the structural and temporal planning of the institutions and actors involved is a particular challenge. However, generally accepted solutions could be worked out in cooperative continuous improvement processes.
Of inestimable value in bridging the gap between theory and practice is the commitment of the team involved, which has now trained and developed together for 10 years, and which exemplarily prepares and accompanies the students for their first experiences in the profession.
This results in a win-win situation for all actors:
- More goal-oriented education for students: In the past 10 years, around 400 students have gone through the university school. In the process, they have observed and discussed around 27,000 lessons, developed targeted solutions to problems and reflected on them with experienced teachers and mentors as well as the university's lecturers.
- Further training of the actors: All participants have discussed and reflected together on central questions of professional teaching practice in a theory-based manner.
- Impulses for school development: At the same time, the results from the university school have also been able to provide suggestions for practical school work.
To summarise, the concept of the "university school" sustainably supports the study structure of business education at the LMU Faculty of Business Administration. With a scope of approx. 25 % of the course offerings (additional specialisations are possible), it ensures, together with the three other "pillars" of business education studies (occupational theory/structures/educational management, teaching/learning/development, research methods), that overarching contexts of meaning of vocational education are taught, that the connection between casuistry and systematics as well as theory and practice is maintained and that students do not persist with isolated detailed questions. The emphasis on the research aspect in particular also enables access to new problems, as they arise again and again for the diverse fields of action of business educationists (e.g. teaching and learning requirements in view of digitalisation or sustainability). At the same time, they are also prepared for activities in the 2nd and 3rd phase of teacher training or in the further qualification of trainers. The concept of the "university school" is thus able to serve as an essential building block for the development and promotion of the entire area of initial and continuing commercial education and training through the qualification of the students, but also the suggestions for the teaching and training staff.
Prof. Dr. Susanne Weber
Institute for Human Resource Education & Management
Munich School of Management
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich
Practical school studies:
- Weber, S., Wiegand, M., & Storfinger, J. (2019). Das Konzept der „Universitätsschule“ im Studium der Wirtschaftspädagogik an der LMU. Munich School of Management Magazine, 36-39.
- Guggemos, J. & Schönlein, M. (2017). Arbeitsaufgaben von Industriekaufleuten im Externen Rechnungswesen: Analyse und Modellierung der Domäne. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 113(2), 325-347
- Weber, S., Schönlein, M., Guggemos, J., & Friedl, M. (2016). Universitätsschule an der LMU in München. In H. Käfler & P. Bodensteiner (Hrsg.), Tagungsband „5 Jahre Universitätsschule-Bilanz und Perspektiven“, Sonderausgabe Nr.1 - Argumente und Materialien zum Zeitgeschehen (S. 39-62). Wildbad Kreuth: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst.
- Guggemos, J. & Schönlein, M. (2015). Modellierung von Kompetenzen in der beruflichen Bildung - Entwicklung und Validierung eines Kompetenzniveaumodells für das externe Rechnungswesen. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 111(4), 524-551.