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Teaching of psychology in Germany

The German Association was founded in 1978 in Northrhine-Westfalia in order to represent the interests of high school teachers in this state* where the subject was newly established. In 1983 it was extended to the whole area of West Germany, (vocational schools included) and in 1991 activities were extended to the former German Democratic Republic so that it is now a general association open to all psychology teachers in Germany. In 2010 there were 735 members.

* Germany is made up of 16 States, or “Länder”.

 Aims and activities:

·        representation of the interests of psychology teachers in state institutions (educational boards, etc)

·        development of curricula and standards

·        activities to establish psychology as a school subject in more schools or States

·        exchange of teaching experience

·        exchange of teaching material, e. g. development of material for special teaching units and organization of a mail order service for members

·        publication of our magazine at least once a year

·        organization of our annual meeting usually in form of a conference on a theme relevant for teaching, with seminars or lectures held by experts, university staff etc. (e.g. New Aspects of Developmental Psychology, Health Psychology, etc.)

·        issues of staff training and development

·        development and up-dating of a website as a communicative platform for our association: www.psychologielehrer.de

·        international contacts


Psychology as a regular school subject

The conditions for psychology as a regular school subject vary from State to State: most provide the subject at upper secondary level only (age 17-19), and Sachsen-Anhalt is so far the only State where psychology is taught both at lower secondary level (age 14-15) and upper secondary level. In some States it is taught in a 2-semester course (two lessons a week), and in others, a 4 semester course (4 lessons a week) leading to the Abitur.
A few states do not yet offer psychology at all (e.g. Sachsen, Hessen, Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheinlandpfalz, Saarland).

Teaching qualification

Only a few universities offer teacher-training in psychology as a school subject, but it is required if psychology is taught as a 4-semester course leading to the Abitur.
Often teachers of other subjects also teach psychology, in some of the States they can obtain further qualification courses for the subject.

Renate Schrempf

The German Psychology Teachers' Association (GPTA) - Verband der Psychologielehrerinnen und -lehrer

Web: http://www.psychologielehrer.de/cnew/

Birgit Rauchhaupt