Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Ideas of Emancipation in the German Discourse of Civic Education, The Discussion of Gender Equality in Historic Classroom Videos
May Jehle

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


The policy of expansion and equalization of educational opportunities in Western Europe during the 1970s was closely linked to the idea of social emancipation through education. “Emancipation” as a general principle of education during the 1960s and 1970s also became a core principle in the German discourse of civic education at this time. Concurrently, these critical concepts of civic education, which intended a change of societal and political structures, caused harsh controversies in the field of educational policy. The hardened fronts only found consent at the end of the 1970s and were open to dialogue again. This restitution of a scientific discourse was also called the “pragmatical turn” which leads to an increased attention for issues of the teaching practice. In a retrospective view, the two didactical concepts by Rolf Schmiederer from 1971 and 1977 can be read as exemplary for this turn: After his first concept, which could be interpreted as a program for a change of society based on the ideas of democratization and emancipation, he developed with his second concepts an approach to student-centered civic education. However, also these new approaches with a stronger orientation towards the students’ environment offered connections to ideas of emancipation by seizing subjects like social (youth) movements or gender issues. Critics objected that this orientation towards the students’ environment also needs a thorough consideration of societal and political structures to ‘bridge the gap’ from social to political learning. Neglecting that, – so the critics – these approaches risk the reproduction and the consolidation of the societal and political structures instead of challenging them.

Against this background, the paper introduces the relatively new source of historic classroom videos to provide insights into classroom practices which remain a “black box” for a research based on written sources. Based on this new source, the paper presents a historic case study in order to enlighten the conceptual development of the idea of emancipation and its implementation in teaching practice in civics courses during the 1980s. The video documents a lesson about gender equality in West-Berlin in 1984; it is a part of a broader documentation of teaching practice in civics courses in the 1980 by scholars of the Freie Universität Berlin. These scholars considered the videos as examples of a student-centered teaching practice which misses the intention to initiate processes of political learning.

The analysis uses a mixed-method approach which includes elements of a visual sociology of knowledge and their hermeneutics in order to reflect the visual and dramaturgical aspects of the video source. Beyond that, the analysis focuses on the documented classroom interaction and interprets the classroom conversation based on the principles of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis as a process of negotiating meaning on the subject matter. This methodological approach intends an analysis which reflects the character of the source and takes the interrelationship of educational discourse and documented teaching practice into account in order to contribute to a discussion of the conceptual development of the idea of emancipation in theory and practice of German civic education.