Basic Course 1
Up Basic Course 1 Contents Overview


Basic Course 2
Basic Course 3
Basic Course 4
Basic Course 5




Overview of the Basic Course Sequence

Basic Course 1: Introduction

Basic Course 2: The Didactic Principles of Teaching Politics

Basic Course 3: Fundamental Methods for Lessons in Politics

Basic Course 4: Methods for Activating Lessons in Politics

Basic Course 5: Democracy at School

Basic Course 1: Introduction

Political didactics has the purpose of providing scientifically based answers to questions concerning the "what", "to which purpose", "why" and "how " of the politics lesson.


What should be learnt: Selection of topics and their structure


Why and to what purpose should be learnt: Teaching intentions and their reason


How should be learnt: Methods, media, place of learning, learning situation

The set of topics here is primarily dedicated to the question of "how" and presents important methods to be used in politics lessons. At a different point - within the Main Subject Group Teaching Politics - you will find more information on the other two core questions, and on the tasks and aims of teaching politics.

"Tools" for the Politics Lesson

Wolfgang Sander characterises tools as "tools for the planning, implementation and reflection on educational environments". He differentiates between four types of "tools", which are introduced here in the form of a summary. They will be dealt with in more detail in various other sections.

Didactic Principles: They aid in selecting and structuring what is to be dealt with in the lesson or in seminars. This turns the complex and difficult to limit field of politics learnable. To this extent they are of paramount importance in the planning and implementation of politics lessons. Basic Course 2 deals with important didactic principles.

Methods: They constitute manual tools for immediate use by the teacher in lessons and seminars. They open up paths of learning "by defining steps, processes and rules for the pupil's encounter with the respective object". Basic Course 3 and Basic Course 4 deal with fundamental methods such as delivery, text analysis, and discussions in the lesson, and present methods for activation such as group puzzles, debates, role play, business games and projects.

Media: Media comprises tools "that are selected, designed and used as working material and information media to provide aids for learning." What should be observed here is that the aids usually comprise media "in which the political discussion itself takes place (such as newspapers, television recordings, textbooks and web-sites).

What is more, media, and in particular digital media (...), open up considerable opportunities for creating products for learning (...) (such as exhibitions, photo and text documentations, web-sites, digital videos)". Media is lent a great deal of importance in the politics lesson from a variety of points of view. The discussions around key qualifications (such as professional Internet research) and media skills and their position of value in the politics lessons is to be seen in this relation.

Evaluation: Wolfgang Sander cites "criteria for the observation, analysis and evaluation of learning processes" as the fourth tool. Following long-term disregard of this area, both political didactics and political education are increasingly being subjected to evaluation. What is controversial however is how the superordinate objectives of the political lesson ("responsible citizens") can (should) be made subject of an evaluation.

[All quotations from: Wolfgang Sander, "Theorie der politischen Bildung: Geschichte - didaktische Konzeptionen - aktuelle Tendenzen und Probleme" (Theory of Political Education - Didactic Conceptions - Current Tendencies and Problems); in: the latest issue of. (Ed.), "Handbuch politische Bildung" (Manual of Political Education), series of publications from the "Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung" (Federal Centre for Political Education), Volume 476, Bonn 2005, pp. 28-30]


... continue to Basic Course 2: The Didactic Principles of Teaching Politics

[Author: Ragnar Müller]

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SubjectsHuman Rights  I  Examples  I  Democracy  I  Parties  I  Europe  I  Globalisation  I  United Nations  I  Sustainability

Methods:    Teaching Politics    II    Peace Education    II    Methods


This online service on the subject of political education was developed by agora-wissen, the Stuttgart-based Gesellschaft für Wissensvermittlung über neue Medien und politische Bildung (GbR) (Partnership for the Exchange of Information Using New Media and Political Education). Please contact us with your questions or comments. Translation from German into English by twigg's Übersetzung deutsch-englisch.