University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 143/2023, 04.10.2023
EU sponsors sustainability concepts in initial and in-service teacher training
In order to give pupils impulses for a sustainable life, teachers need new competences and innovative teaching methods. Within the framework of the Green Call, material on the topic of "sustainability" is particularly in demand. This is now being developed by the international EU project SYNAPSES under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner from the University of Bayreuth. New concepts for sustainable citizenship are to be developed by 2026.
SYNAPSES shows how the topic of sustainability can be taught in a pre-vocational and in-service way. Research partners from Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic will prepare "green" teaching units under the slogan Sustainable Citizenship in the project funded by the EU with around 1.5 million euros. "We are mainly planning topics here that are still somewhat neglected in normal teacher training courses or have not yet been taught at all. We are thinking of topics such as microplastics, new plant varieties for drought resistance or sustainable food and energy sources, to name just three examples, says Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner. "The EU has in mind a kind of academy that would accredit such teacher training courses in close cooperation with the responsible ministries of education. To this end, there will now be a founding working meeting with other comparable EU projects in Brussels in November."
Sustainability citizenship describes empirically based individual knowledge, personal attitudes and sustainable actions. "The project examples that are to be developed are intended to work on these 'adjusting screws' and enable teachers even better to prepare young people for a more sustainable way of life," says Bogner. The project partners want to make a wide range of teaching materials accessible throughout Europe. In view of the 50 different school traditions in the EU and the eight different languages, this will not be an easy undertaking.
The content work on the SYNAPSES project has only just begun and should be completed by mid-2026. "Then teachers at local, regional, national as well as international level will be offered innovative forms of teaching for their daily work," says Bogner. An important project partner is therefore ECBA, the umbrella organisation of European biology teachers; the Bavarian partner for this is VBIO Bayern.
Bogner, who until recently held the Chair for the Didactics of Biology at the University of Bayreuth, explains his ongoing commitment to these issues: "Now that I no longer have teaching obligations, I can concentrate even more intensively on research." The topic of sustainable citizenship runs like a thread through his research activities over the past 30 years. In spring, he was the first German didactician to be awarded the highest prize in his field, the US NARST Award (National Association for Research in Science Teaching). In addition, his "Bayreuth Model" is part of the TIMSS study on STEM education that is currently running worldwide.