Universität Bielefeld

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WM 9: How to prepare student teachers ready for inclusive teaching in English classrooms through research-oriented learning during placement

From the article 24 of the UN Convention of the rights of disabled people, children with special educational needs should be educated together with their “typically” developing peers (UN 2008: 1435). Since 2009, inclusive education is strongly being advocated and implemented in each state on different levels all over Germany. As regards to English teaching, this means that children with even more diverse learning requirements, will learn together in a class, which poses often difficulty and challenges to all English teachers. Many teachers express their concern of feeling unprepared for this new situation (Trumbullet al., 2001). Therefore, to prepare future English teachers ready for inclusive English classrooms is of key importance. While examining the previous literature focusing on promoting inclusive teaching in English classes from an international context, we find the focus of most studies lie at the in-service teachers: e.g. teachers give instructions that are culturally and linguistically relevant and responsive to students’ disabilities (García & Ortiz, 2008); the importance of teachers working in team and with different interdisciplinary (García & Tyler, 2010). Other important findings focus on: e.g. an establishment of inclusive curriculum (Arries, 1999); embedding social emotional learning in the inclusive English classroom (Dresser, 2012). In general, a huge lack of studies focusing on how to prepare the student teachers (preservice teachers) ready for future English teaching in inclusive classrooms. In correspondence to the tradition of ‘Forschendes Lernen in der Hochschuldidaktik’ of Bielefeld University, researchers from cluster II have established the “Kompetenzzentrum Forschendes Lernen” (Huber 2009). The idea of research-oriented learning emphasizes, that student teachers acquire skills and knowledge from the empirically-based reflections in their own teaching practices and school activities (Feierabend, Jokmin & Eilks, 2011). Specifically, it is a process comparing and contrasting what they have already learned theoretically with what they experience in the “praxis semester” (Placement), based on which, new changes and adaptation to their previous knowledge will take place. Therefore, in order to prepare English teachers ready for inclusive teaching in English classrooms, our project designs the following four steps:

  1. Before the treatment: Ask the student teachers ‘What does inclusive teaching in the English classroom mean for you?’
  2. Offer the treatment: The Department of Education and English Language and Literature have cooperated to build up a seminar to theoretically prepare English student teachers ready before they start their placement.
  3. Testing in the placement: Students try out what they have theoretically learned from the preparational seminar in the placement. They take notes during their placment on their experiences in the inclusive English classroom.
  4. Reflections of the placement experiences: Students reflect what they have experienced in the placement and compare and contrast with what they have learned from the preparational seminar.

The following research design is proposed to guarantee the whole process during the above four steps.

Research question: How can English student teachers be prepared for inclusive teaching in English classrooms through research-oriented learning in the placement?

In order to answer that, three sub-questions will also be forwarded: Question one: What are the key competencies that student-teachers should have to teach inclusively in English classroom? Question two: What is the role of the diversity of learners in teaching inclusively in English classroom? Question three: In what way does ‘Research-oriented learning’ support student-teachers’ inclusive teaching in English classroom?

Research Methods: A pilot study will first be carried out focusing on the group for the first WM 9 seminar (SoSe 2017), on which we will apply our explanation mixed research methods. After the pilot study group, many changes and modifications will be added to the following research methods and based on this changed version, our research focusing on the next three cohort groups (2017/2018 first cohort; 2018 second cohort; 2018/2019 third cohort) of students will be carried out.

  Quantitative part (first part) Qualitative part (second part)
Participants All students from the first WM9 seminar (almost 25). 5 to 6 students for a case study based on their answers of the questionnaire
Design of the research methods A revised version of ‘Teacher Efficacy for Inclusive Practice (TEIP) Scale’ (Sharma, Loreman, & Forlin, 2012) as the main questionnaire (delivered before the WM 9 seminar and after the placement)
  • semi-structured interviews constructed based on the TEIP scale;
  • Students’ dairy during the placement
Data Analyzing SPSS for comparing ‘average scores’ for positive or negative changes; Chi-square test’ for potential correlations among those items from the questionnaire (carefull: only small cohort, N= 25). ‘Content analysis’ for generating certain themes for answering research questions


Project goal: Our first goal is that from our ‘research-oriented learning’, our English student teachers not only can comprehend rationally and critically about inclusive teaching in English classroom but also socially and emotional competent for potential issues or problems in the practices (Kansanen, 2006; Wildt, 2006). Moreover, based on the reflections students provide in the research studies, we will be able to make changes to our existing preparational WM 9 seminar for English student teachers, which in the end, will contribute to a strongly evidence-based teaching model that can contribute to more capable inclusive teaching in University English Didactics.



Arries, J. F. (1999). Learning disabilities and foreign languages: A curriculum approach to the design of inclusive courses. The Modern Language Journal, 83(1), 98-110.

Dresser, R. (2012). Reviving oral reading practices with English learners by integrating social-emotional learning. Multicultural Education, 20(1), 45.

Haß, Frank (2013), Inklusion im Englischunterricht oder Lernorientierung endlich ernst nehmen.(31. August 2015)Hebel von, Anja (2010), „Yes, we can talk“ Englisch für Jugendliche mit sonderpädagogischem Förderbedarf, in: Praxis Fördern 1, S. 4-6.

Huber, L. (2009). Warum Forschendes Lernen nötig und möglich ist. Forschendes Lernen im Studium. Aktuelle Konzepte und Erfahrungen, 9-35.

García, S. B., & Ortiz, A. A. (2008). A framework for culturally and linguistically responsive design of response-to-intervention models. Multiple Voices, 11(1), 24–41.

García, S. B., & Tyler, B. J. (2010). Meeting the needs of English language learners with learning disabilities in the general curriculuam. Theory into practice, 49(2), 113-120.

Kansanen P., (2006), Constructing a research-based program in teacher education, in F. K. Oser, F. Achtenhagen and U. Renold (eds.), Competence oriented teacher training. Old research demands and new pathways. Rotterdam: Sense, pp. 11-22.

Trumbull, E., Rothstein-Fisch, C., Greenfield, P., & Quiroz, B. (2001). Bridging cultures between home and school: A guide for teachers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

UN (2008): „Gesetz zu dem Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen vom 13.12.2006 über die Rechte von Menschen mit Behinderungen sowie zu dem Fakultativprotokoll vom 13.12.2006 zum Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen über die Rechte von Menschen mit Behinderungen.“ In: Bundesgesetzblatt Jg. 2008 Teil II Nr. 35, ausgegeben zu Bonn am 31.01.2008.

Wildt J., (2006), Research-oriented learning in teacher education, in I. Eilks and B. Ralle (eds.), Towards research-based science teacher education,Aachen: Shaker, pp. 5-15.



Leitung WM 9:
Prof. Dr. Bettina Amrhein

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin:
Run Tan