The University of Greifswald’s Institute of Geography and Geology prepares students for teaching geography at grammar schools (Gymnasien) and secondary schools (regionale Schulen). These degree courses were modularised in winter semester 2012, meaning that all of the modules are examined and some of these marks are included in the overall mark for the erste Staatsprüfung (First State Examination). The methodology for teaching geography is a key element of the degree course. This area of the teachers’ training focuses on teaching methods to accompany the theory and the multifunction teaching practice at schools. This results in the courses on the teaching profession being held or accompanied by qualified teachers. The contents and structure of the teacher-training degree courses are regulated by the Lehrerbilungsgesetz (Teacher-Training Act) which was passed by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Ministry of Education, as well as the Verordnung über die Erste Staatsprüfung für Lehrämter an allgemeinbildenden und beruflichen Schulen im Lande Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’(Ordinance on the First State Examination for Teaching Qualifications for Schools and Vocational Colleges in the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).
This section of the institute endeavours to provide training that is both practice and career-oriented. With a total of 11 SWS (contact hrs. per week), the Institute of Geography and Geology has one of Germany’s most extensive training programmes for geography teachers. The degree course starts off with a lecture on the principles of teaching geography. A seminar in the 3rd semester provides an overview of subject-specific teaching contents. Students attend a media seminar in the 5th semester. Geography as a subject enables the use of a broad range of multimedia for various topics. Students analyse and learn how to use geographical maps, illustrated materials, the use of computer-based programmes and image-based orientation etc. The course also covers and teaches cooperative types of learning that are used in practice. The initial teaching practice is the first time theory is combined with actual teaching. Students prepare, hold and reflect on their own lessons, supervised by a lecturer from the field of teacher education. The main block of teaching practice takes place in the 7th semester, lasting several weeks. This is accompanied by a seminar that addresses the content and teaching methodology. All of the phases of teacher-training help prepare future teachers for “school” in terms of subject expertise, methodology and organisational skills and provide them with an opportunity to gain experience of the “teaching” profession.