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The physics teaching credential (Lehramt)

Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich stands for more than just outstanding education. Good teachers also need to know how to teach their subject. With a special Chair for Physics Education – unique in southern Bavaria – the Faculty of Physics at LMU Munich offers the best possible preparation.

In Germany, the states, or Länder, are in charge of teacher training. The Staatsexamen, an exam consisting of two blocks, certifies physics teachers: the first Staatsexamen tests the didactic skills and especially whether a Lehramt candidate's knowledge is sufficient. The higher education institute prepares a student for this exam. The second Staatsexamen concludes a two-year probationary Referendariat. In order to become a teacher at a Realschule, Hauptschule, Sonderschule or Grundschule, one studies physics as "teaching subject". Pedagogic and didactic training are of particular importance here.

While physics training for teachers at the lower-division Grundstudium level hardly differs from the non-teacher program, the upper-division Hauptstudium is considerably broader. In addition to a second teaching subject, a far greater time is allotted to education theory, psychology and teaching. A project must then be completed in specialty area of physics or physics education in order to be admitted to the Staatsexamen. Six months are allotted for this in conjunction with the in-depth program. The Staatsexamen itself consists of a whole series of written and oral exams in various different areas. A teacher is more generalist than specialist.

The academic study of mathematics and physics is accompanied by training in pedagogy and teaching skills: general pedagogy, school pedagogy and psychology on the one hand, physics education and mathematics on the other. Uniting all teaching credential programs under one roof at LMU Munich enables students to discuss their experiences with the very different demands the various subjects and types of school place. This makes it easier for students when, say, choosing a supplementary subject. An important plus for teacher training.

Teacher training in physics at LMU Munich emphasizes the practical components of learning in both research and instruction. Our staff can all refer to their own teaching experience – usually many years of practice in schools – to establish a connection between the academic discipline of physics and physics as a subject to be taught. In this way, students learn in, say, a demonstration practice course how to select, construct and present suitable school experiments. For this we offer a well stocked collection of school equipment. In role-playing sessions, these demonstrations are filmed on video, ideal for critically observing oneself in the role of teacher and discussing in small groups all the facets of the reality of the classroom, things such as how to handle student presentations, motivation problems and suitable question techniques. An additional emphasis of innovative training is the sensible use of computers in physics classes. The classic textbook is no longer enough; the new media have arrived.

Naturally, we offer an extensive library for physics instruction, intensive counseling – especially for final projects -, and a series of international contacts. We give teacher training the room it deserves to provide the ideal preparation for school!

But you only really experience the reality of the classroom when you stand before the class: You've switched sides, and now you're the teacher. With two required internships at a Gymnasium, both accompanying your studies and in block form, you can see early on if this is truly the profession for you.