Research Area: Context-sensitive Research and Development of the School System

In recent years, there has been growing national and international recognition that contingency factors of school and teaching, such as the social space in which a school is located, the composition of the student body, the structure of the education and administration system, and also the tradition and culture of the individual schools have a great influence on practices within schools and also on the possibilities of changing these practices through school development. The research area is dedicated to the national and international comparative analysis and adaptive and context-specific development of schools.

Microprocesses of the (re-) production of social inequality and design-based schools development

Next to the classical characteristics of schools and teaching qualities, positive and esteeming relationships and high expectations for the performance of female pupils, which include a positive orientation towards the world of life and their families, have been identified for high-performance schools in socially disadvantaged areas. However, first empirical findings outline opposite contexts: the more disadvantaged the social background, the lower seem to be teachers' expectations and confidence in pupils' performance. In addition, the first empirical work of the research area reveals devaluation dynamics and deficit perspectives in relation to the social space and the world of life in which disadvantaged children and young people grow up. The work of the research area is dedicated to the analysis and systematic empirical research of these correlations and also works on practical concepts to break them down. The main focus here is on the potential and challenges of design-based approaches to school and education system development in different thematic and spatial settings and involving a variety of actors.

Development in networks

Although the creation of networks in the education system presents many challenges, there is a great deal of empirical evidence that knowledge and social capital can be mobilised in such networks much better than by focusing on individual actors without networking, and that this can also have a positive impact on the quality of schooling and teaching and on the learning of pupils. However, it seems to play a central role in determining which methods and research and development theoretical approaches are used in the context of networks and in individual school development.

Knowledge transfer and system development

Against the background of the sustainability discourse with regard to educational innovations, not only schools but also educational policy and educational administration are increasingly the addressees of transfer knowledge. Increased public investment and greater cooperation between education policy, foundations, science and educational institutions in so-called Research and development projects are leading to increasing demands - which are by no means uncontroversial in scientific circles - for an improved transfer of knowledge into relevant action knowledge. In addition to the quality requirements of the scientific system for research results, questions of the transferability of the knowledge generated are also relevant here. The research area is dedicated to strategies of knowledge management and knowledge transfer, but also to questions of social power discourses and interpretative sovereignty in research transfer.


Dr. Sabrina Rutter
Office: S06 S06 B48
Telephone: (0201) 183 - 3841