COACTIV-R: A Study on Teacher Candidates’ Acquisition of Professional Competence During Teaching Practice

Teacher training in Germany consists of three phases: a university phase, an induction program, and in-service training for qualified teachers. The first phase focuses on content knowledge, the second phase on the practical activity of teaching.

Against the background of the Bologna process, which has triggered a process of restructuring higher education degree programs throughout Europe, teacher training in Germany has also come under close scrutiny. Which skills and competencies need to be acquired in which phase of training? Which opportunities for learning and experience must be provided in order for teacher candidates to develop the necessary professional competence? Empirical knowledge on the acquisition of teacher competence is still limited.

Findings from COACTIV highlight the importance of structured learning opportunities for the acquisition of professional knowledge, and indicate that the first phase of teacher training is particularly important for the acquisition of subject-specific competence. The second phase of teacher training can be assumed to be critical for the acquisition of pedagogical knowledge and the development of profession-specific values.

This is the starting point for the COACTIV-R study, a longitudinal study tracking the development of teacher competence from the end of the first (university) phase to the end of the second (induction program) phase of teacher training.

The following aspects of professional competence are investigated:

  • Knowledge: content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, generic pedagogical knowledge, diagnostic knowledge and skills,
  • Personality factors: professional values and ethics, subjective theories of teaching and learning, self-efficacy beliefs, intrinsic motivation, goal orientations, willingness to cooperate, response to stress, regulation of psychological resources,
  • Situation-dependent motivational and emotional experience: experience of job satisfaction and fulfillment; stress, strain, and anxiety.

Teacher candidates preparing to teach mathematics at lower secondary level form the primary target group. In addition, there is a smaller sample of prospective elementary school teachers specializing in German.

The study addresses three main research questions:

  • Which skills and competencies do teacher candidates possess at the beginning of their 2-year teaching practice?
  • How do their abilities, knowledge, beliefs, and emotional and motivational skills develop during this second phase of teacher training?
  • How do individual and institutional factors impact the positive or negative development of competencies? To what extent are developmental trajectories the results of selective access to the teaching profession? How do different learning opportunities during teaching practice affect the acquisition of competencies?


Jürgen Baumert
Thamar Dubberke
Erin Furtak
Yvonne Grabbe
Axinja Hachfeld
Uta Klusmann
Mareike Kunter
Dirk Richter
Yi-Miau Tsai
Jürgen Elsner


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