Didactics of Mathematics

Mathematics is a central element of education, which is why training mathematics teachers is an important task. The research groups working in the field of didactics make significant contributions in this respect and their work covers various areas of field-specific didactics for all school levels.

Prof. Petra Scherer’s research group on “Learning process and teaching research” conducts projects on the analysis of instruction processes and individual learning processes, particularly those under difficult conditions, and on the handling of heterogeneity in mathematics lessons or inclusive mathematics instruction. Prof. Scherer also heads the “Heterogeneous learning groups – primary level” division of the German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education (DZLM, funded by the German Telekom Foundation, second phase from 2016 to 2019). This project is primarily concerned with the professionalisation of teachers and multipliers, and with conceptual developments in the area of continuing teacher education; one subproject explores processes of reflection among teaching staff. Further research activities are carried out within the ProViel project (“Teacher Education Quality Offensive”, funded by the BMBF until mid-2019; the second round runs from 2019 until 2023). Petra Scherer is coordinating the “Diversity and inclusion” field (in cooperation with Prof. Annemarie Fritz-Stratmann) and also heading the “Inclusive mathematics” subproject, which develops and evaluates concepts for teacher education. The research group also studies learning processes in heterogeneous groups as part of the “Mathe-Spürnasen” (school laboratory) project. Currently this includes a collaborative fellowship for innovation in higher education on skills acquisition in the maths teaching and learning lab, a joint project with the University of Paderborn (funded by Stifterverband until 03/2019).

The research group of Prof. Bärbel Barzel has two main emphases, digitalisation and teacher training. In cooperation with the DZLM, continuing education and training of multipliers is organised in the scope of the Development programme division, which is headed by Bärbel Barzel, and investigated in different doctoral and habilitation projects. The findings and results of the now completed EU project FaSMED (Improving Progress for Lower Achievers through Formative Assessment in Science and Mathematics Education) are currently being transferred to the “Bildungsgerechtigkeit im Fokus” (Focus on Educational Justice) project. The digital learning environment for self-diagnosis and self-support developed in this context is being developed further to assist students and extended to include additional basic competences. Alongside this work, the researchers are also exploring the influence of socioeconomic background on mathematic ability and performance. The project “T3” (Teachers Teaching with Technology) has been running at the UDE since 2013 and contributes with its large network of instructors and researchers to training teachers in meaningul use of technology in mathematics and natural science school lessons. The project “Teaching and learning mathematics - Constructive.Innovative.Cooperative” is setting up a virtual and real teaching-learning laboratory for students and teachers (funded through Stifterverband from 01/2019). A project funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) intensified exchange specifically with colleagues from Australia on the conception of teacher education in relation to digitalisation and on formative assessment of teaching and instruction.

In the research group led by Prof. Andreas Büchter, its work on the transition from school to university and on the initial stages of higher education in fields with greater mathematical content has been consolidated. In this context, posts funded externally through the BMBF project at the UDE, “Bildungsgerechtigkeit im Fokus II”, as well as those funded by the University and the Faculty are being used to help understand more clearly the challenges during the early stages of studying for a degree and to develop suitable supportive measures. In the scope of the UDE “ProViel” project, also funded by the BMBF, instruments for recording the specific scientific and educational professional knowledge of Master’s students were developed in the first funding period. In the second funding period they will now be implemented in the teacher education programmes at high-school level in order to monitor and evaluate skills development within the Master’s programme. The research focus on “Language competency and mathematical learning” received third-party funding for a project that has led to two PhD projects, one of which has been completed successfully and for the second a very promising thesis has been submitted. In connection with the “school maths lab”, research is continuing on approaches to material-supported learning at lower and upper secondary levels, which also includes two PhD projects.

The research focus of the group of Prof. Florian Schacht is the use of digital tools in mathematics teaching. This is partly funded by a fellowship of the Stifterverband and by the University. In an international research collaboration on the application of augmented reality in mathematics education, a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Ben-Gurion University in Israel. In the same context, a joint Erasmus+ programme of the University of Bari (Italy) and the UDE has also been launched. Both projects aim to reinforce research collaboration and encourage academic mobility. A second research focus is on questions of inclusive learning in mathematics lessons.

The Didactics of Mathematics section has been successfully restructured in recent years: Prof. Heinz Steinbring, Prof. Hans Niels Jahnke and Prof. Lisa Hefendehl-Hebeker remain with the Faculty as senior professors while new appointments have been made to all three professorial positions.