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Overview

...about the teacher-training programme (Teaching Qualification for Primaray Educarion, Lower - Secondary Education, Grammar Schools and Special Needs Education), its prerequisites, its element of university study, teaching placements, the state teaching examination, working as a trainee teacher and getting a teaching job.

Students who started their education studies in Hesse before winter semester 2005/06 are subject to the examination regulations of 1995. More on this...

You will find more detailed information on programme composition, programme contents and examination regulations for the individual types of teacher training on the webpages of the Centre for Teacher Training (Zentrum für Lehrerbildung, ZfL).

In Germany, teacher-training policy falls within the remit of the federal states' own education authorities. Because of this, programmes of study in the different states can vary in structure and content, particularly with regard to the number, range and combinations of school subjects in which teachers are trained.

Entrance requirements

Applicants must have an Abitur (school leaver`s examination) or equivalent. More on this...

Within the various teacher-training programmes, there are some subject-specific prerequisites for study in the form of

University study

A university degree is the first step on the road to becoming a teacher. The studies are composed of the following elements:

Degree course arranged in modules

Within the programmes of studies, courses (lectures, seminars etc) are grouped together to form themed modules. These module components require students to attend regularly, to study actively and - either at the end of each component course or at the end of each module - to pass final exams.

Students are expected to

  • familiarise themselves with the essentials of their 1 to 3 school subjects and the research methods used within these fields,
  • gain knowledge of fundamental theories and concepts in teaching and learning (subject-specific teaching methods, teaching psychology, pedagogy),
  • learn the information and approaches required to think about school, teaching and the parties involved (pedagogy, sociology, politics, teaching methods).

The aim here is to give students the foundations they need to practise their chosen profession and the motivation and capacity to organise their own life-long learning.

Teacher-training degrees in Hesse have been organised in modules since winter semester 2005/06, both for administration purposes and in terms of content. The intention is to ensure that the contents and requirements of teacher-training programmes can be compared and assessed and are of equally high quality. More on modularisation...

School placements and school-based study

In accordance with Hessian law governing teaching qualifications (Hessisches Lehrerbildungsgesetz), all education students must undertake an orientation school placement before the beginning of their course:

Intermediate assessment for all teacher-training degrees

In all our teacher-training degree programmes, students face intermediate assessment after the first half of the minimum duration of their studies. This does not involve them sitting an exam; instead, each students' intermediate grade is derived from the accumulated grades achieved in modules amounting to a specified number of credit points.

This intermediate grade and the first school placement are intended to confirm students' aptitude for their chosen profession. It follows that continued failure to pass the intermediate assessment and the first period of school-based study by the final deadline will result in students' loss of permission to proceed with their chosen degree. Assessment webpage of the Centre for Teacher Training

First state examination

60% of each student's grade for the first state teaching examination is derived from the grades achieved in module examinations in the course of his or her degree programme. The remaining 40% come from the final state examination taken at the end of the university-based part of the programme.

Further information on the first state examination for modularised and non-modularised teacher-training degrees is available on the website of the Landesschulamt (LSA) - Prüfungsstelle Gießen. (Click on 'Studium', then on 'Gießen'.) This information includes 

  • important dates,
  • tips on writing the dissertation,
  • application forms for permission to submit the dissertation
  • and grading guidelines for education degrees.

You may also find our infopool useful.

See the webpages of the Centre for Teacher Training for more information about exams

Teaching Practice / Working as a trainee teacher

After the first state examination, students undertake the second phase of school-based study, known in German as 'Vorbereitungsdienst', 'Referendariat' or 'Ref'. More on this...

Getting a teaching job

Since there are significantly more applicants than there are free teaching jobs, the employment of teachers in Hesse, as in many other German states, is made dependent on applicants' subjects and the combined grades from their first and second state teaching examinations. In several states, some jobs are also advertised by or for specific schools, normally requiring additional qualifications.

Almost all students nowadays seek to improve their chances of employment by taking extra exams to add to their state examination, qualifying them, for example, to teach another subject and/or at a different type of school. More on this...

Further study

Both parts of the teacher training progamme, being a student and being a trainee teacher, are intended to encourage you to foster your capacity for life-long learning.

You can safely assume that a thirty-year career will see significant developments not only within the fields of study in which you teach. Research into teaching methods, educational psychology, pedagogy and the social sciences also influence what is seen as 'good teaching'. Society expects teachers to notice such changes and to examine whether they should or can lead to changes in the methods or contents of their own lessons. It also expects teachers to be experts on childhood and adolescence, with a finger on the pulse of developments in this age-group and capable of mental modelling, keeping up with new theories and having a positive influence on the situation themselves. The duty of teachers to continue their own education is also enshrined in the Hessian law governing teaching qualifications (Hessisches Lehrerbildungsgesetz).

You will significantly increase your own (and your pupils') sense of satisfaction at school if you continue to seek new inspiration for your work when you are no longer a trainee by, for instance, reading periodicals and books on teaching methods and pedagogy and/or attending continuing-education seminars.

Further information on being a trainee, getting a teaching job and continuing your own education is provided by the Hessian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs.

Teacher training across Germany

For those requiring information on teacher-training degrees and comprehensive teacher-training programmes which are run in Germany as a whole, the German Education Server provides a useful website.