Generic Pedagogical Knowledge as an Aspect of Teacher Competence (PeKno)

According to Shulman’s (1986, 1987) conceptualization, teachers’ professional knowledge can be broken down into the facets of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and generic pedagogical knowledge. The focus of our previous research in the COACTIV project has been on subject-specific components of teachers’ professional knowledge. The supplementary PeKno (Pedagogical Knowledge) study turns to the generic pedagogical knowledge needed to create optimal teaching and learning situations in all subjects.

The study aims

  • to provide a comprehensive conceptualization of generic pedagogical knowledge,
  • to develop reliable and valid instruments measuring generic pedagogical knowledge,
  • to analyze individual differences in generic pedagogical knowledge and the conditions for their development, and
  • to examine how generic pedagogical knowledge affects instructional quality and student learning.


A conceptualization of generic pedagogical knowledge has been drawn up on the basis of different theoretical conceptions of learning and achievement at school (e.g., Bloom, 1976; Carroll, 1963; BIQUA framework). These models converge with respect to core aspects hypothesized to determine school learning in different subjects, allowing generic aspects of teacher competence to be identified. Experts and teacher judgments of the competency profiles required by teachers also highlight the importance of generic pedagogical knowledge and skills for successful instruction (cf. standards for teaching and teacher education; Reynolds et al., 1992).
The subdomains of generic pedagogical knowledge presented in the following overview are generally considered crucial:

Basic knowledge of individual processing
Knowledge of cognitive, emotional, and motivational learning processes.

Knowledge of generic aspects of instruction
This comprises: knowledge of planning (cross-curricular principles of instructional planning), knowledge of methods (repertoire of instructional methods), and instructional and classroom management skills.

Knowledge of individual and contextual characteristics


Thamar Dubberke
Jürgen Baumert
Mareike Kunter
Nele McElvany

Cooperation Partner:
Jürgen Wiechmann (Universität Landau)