In teaching, the Research and Teaching Unit´s profile is characterised by focusing on social, professional and orientational skills and competencies as a basis for political, economic and social autonomy. This presupposes that students acquire in school the ability to analyse social problems from different, controversial social science perspectives and to put the results of their analyses into relation. Furthermore, the Bielefeld approach acknowledges that social problems are transdisciplinary and in most cases controversial and that investigating and dealing with them requires the use of several theoretical and empirical methods of the social sciences as well as the interpretation of different ranges of interests. In our view, this means that plural and controversial approaches in description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation are the basic precondition for learning and studying in the social sciences. This also holds true for the development and evaluation of the concept of socio-economic education.
Against the background of our understanding of social science education, in the didactical analysis, the content of teaching needs to be based on the life experiences of the learners. We consider the central objective of didactics of social sciences at Bielefeld University to be: to qualify future teachers, and to support students in the acquisition of political, economic, and social autonomy as well as civic participation in a socially responsible way.
The Bielefeld Tradition of social science education dates back to the 1970s. In the field of didactics of economics, it was in particular Peter Weinbrenner who, since the mid-1970s, had shaped and developed a social science approach to socio-economic education ? which was simultaneously critical of ideology, and later also ecologically oriented. His concept of a work-oriented political education is also taken up and continued within the working unit. Friedrich-Wilhelm Dörge developed an education concept for autonomous consumers. In the field of social science didactics, Jürgen Feldhoff and Karl A. Otto in the 1980s developed the ?Projekt Betriebspraktikum? at the Faculty of Sociology. As it was designed to be a sociological and critical project, it received broad attention. Gerd-E. Famulla led a critical social science debate with the dominating field of business administration and the human image of the homo oeconomicus. In doing so, he also developed his concepts of occupational- and working environment orientation. Doris Lemmermöhle?s gender-sensitive social science concepts of occupational orientation also have their origins in the Bielefeld research context. For the didactics of social studies at primary schools (Sachunterricht), Joachim Kahlert developed the transdisciplinary concept ?Didactic Networks? and Dietmar von Reeken provided integrative conceptualisations for historical and political learning.
All these approaches were oriented critically towards societal problems. Still today, the didactics of social sciences is devoted to the tradition of interdisciplinarity, social science integration, problem orientation and critical reflection.
Since the beginning of the social science education of teachers, Bielefeld University has implemented its founding idea of interdisciplinarity and, connected to this, developed innovative and integrative models of studying as well as course formats. Through the cooperation with the Department of History, the historical dimension of societal conditions as well as of the social sciences was present in key courses. Innovative teaching formats of the structured integration of different disciplinary perspectives continue to characterise the education of teachers at the Faculty of Sociology to this day.
Information for StudentsGuide to scientific work in the didactics of social science