Universität Bielefeld

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Fortieth anniversary of the Laborschule and the Oberstufen-Kolleg

They have a reputation for new and unconventional forms of teaching and learning. Forty years ago - on 9 September 1974 - the Laborschule [Laboratory School] and the Oberstufen-Kolleg [High School College] opened their doors as experimental schools for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Since then, they have been monitored academically by research institutes at Bielefeld University's Faculty of Educational Science known as the Wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen Laborschule und Oberstufenkolleg. The anniversary will be celebrated on 5 and 6 September with an educational symposium and an open house day on 9 September.

The experimental schools' concept

Learning in open spaces instead of closed rooms, mixed age lessons, and no school grades until the ninth year of schooling - that is what characterizes Bielefeld's Laborschule. Learning without grades in the introductory phase, two-week projects every half year, and an interdisciplinary basic course profile in upper secondary school are what characterize the Oberstufen-Kolleg.

40 Jahre Schulprojekte
The Laborschule shortly after it opened in 1974. Photo: Bielefeld University

When the Professor of Educational Sciences Hartmut von Hentig came from Göttingen to Bielefeld University in 1970, he wanted to transfer the new university's founding principle of interdisciplinarity to teacher training. His vision was a 'laboratory' for teacher training directly next to the university that would link together theory and practice. But von Hentig did not just want to change the content of teaching but also the methods. Between 1970 and 1974, he put together a developmental commission for learning goals and curricula at both schools and planned the school buildings this would require. The basic idea was a democratic school culture that would impart to the pupils the value of co- and self-determination as well as social responsibility. Even today, being open both inside and outside the school remains a basic principle of both experimental schools, and this is also reflected in the school architecture.

Further information is available online at:
->uni.aktuell: 40 Jahre Laborschule und Oberstufenkolleg




5 and 6 September: At the symposium "Differenz erleben - Gesellschaft gestalten" [Live the difference - shape society], teachers will engage in discussions with researchers.

->Further information on the conference is available online (In German)

->Conference programme (In German)

Open house day

9 September: Both experimental schools are celebrating the anniversary of their foundation with an open house day and a cultural festival.

->Programme (In German)


The Laborschule aims to teach independence, codetermination, and solidarity. Professor Dr. Annette Textor and Nicole Freke from the Laborschule?s Research Institute explain how that works in research_tv: http://youtu.be/bUutiT5qtgg