Action-oriented teaching

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Action- oriented lessons are holistically demanding, active student lessons, in which the action products agreed between the teacher and the students determine the organization of the teaching process. The aim is to bring “head, heart and hand” ( Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi , 1746–1827), that is, cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning, into a balanced relationship with one another. It is not a didactic model , just a didactic-methodological concept .

Action-oriented teaching is usually based on a concrete situation for the exercise (first step) in order to derive a general law from it (second step) or to explain a general principle (inductive procedure). The opposite concept is instruction learning . It first explains the principle, the regularity or the context, and then treats individual cases in the form of exercises or examples (deductive approach).

The concept can essentially be assigned to constructivist didactics . This postulates that people can only perceive external reality with the help of their sensory organs and that every person constructs his idea of ​​reality from the perceptions in the course of his life. This means that the ideas can be different between individuals. Particularly relevant for (action-oriented) didactics is the conclusion that it cannot be a meaningful goal to anchor a certain idea of ​​"reality" in another person, as outdated forms of instruction attempt to do. Instead, the learner has to be supported in the construction of his imagination by giving him the opportunity to test his own ideas against reality.

Definition of terms (history of development)

Action-oriented teaching is a term that goes back to the work pedagogy of the reform pedagogy . However, it already has forerunner concepts in Pestalozzi's idea of ​​elementary education as a unit of head, heart and hand and the self-activity concepts of the 19th century, as in Diesterweg or Froebel . In the work education debate at the beginning of the Weimar Republic, very heterogeneous concepts were represented, such as free intellectual school work by Hugo Gaudig (1860–1923), the approach of integrating school learning into the social production process ( Paul Oestreich , 1878–1959) or more Handicraft-oriented education by Georg Kerschensteiner (1854–1932). At the same time, John Dewey (1859–1952) and William Heard Kilpatrick (1871–1965) developed the approach of " learning by doing ", in which the active exploration of the reality surrounding the school was significant. But other representatives of the reform pedagogy epoch also diverged from the verbal school and emphasized the pedagogical effectiveness of active learning such as Freinet (1896–1966) or Montessori (1870–1952).

Even today, this approach is considered a productive didactic-methodological concept. This is particularly true for vocational education . In terms of learning theory, action orientation today is based on two fundamental theories, namely the activity theory, which goes back to the Soviet psychology of Vygotsky and Alexej Leontjew , and the approaches to the developmental psychological foundation of learning, which go back to the cognitive action theory of Piaget and Aebli . In many cases, the concept of action orientation blurs with holistic , discovery or open , child-friendly teaching. That is why quality criteria are required that define the action orientation more clearly.

Action orientation dispenses with the principle of completeness in terms of content of a canon of topics. This is approached as an example . It is not the incorporation of concepts, but their creation and the recombining of givens that are essential. Put simply, the action orientation extends the holistic view of the learner and his environment to include the model of complete action as a constructivist process.

In political education , action orientation has a special meaning. In addition to teaching, she means translating what she has learned into political action as an active citizen. This can be a concrete political action in the present (in school life, political initiative) or a readiness to act for future situations.

Characteristics of action-oriented teaching

Action orientation and holism

In action-oriented lessons - in an alternation of exertion and relaxation - mental and manual work work together with the involvement of feeling and all senses.

Opening of lessons

Opening of lessons can take place on two levels:

  • Content-related and institutional opening : The lessons enable the students, at least to some extent, to see and experience their school and class situation as an open, not all institutionally fixed, living environment (partial aspect of the lifelong relationship of the lessons). In project work outside the school, the protected space of the school learning environment is also left.
  • Curricular and methodological opening : The lessons encourage student initiatives and personal responsibility for the choice of goal-oriented activities and the division of work and time (up to and including the preparation of weekly plans).

Learner orientation

Under the principle of learner orientation , on the one hand, the question is increasingly asked what pupils want or should learn for which purposes, and on the other hand, what requirements they have for certain learning processes according to their abilities, their age and their specific life and learning experiences, and which are theirs preferred learning styles.

Content orientation

The subject areas of the action-oriented lessons take greater account of the personal experiences and interests of the young people and challenge them to engage in emotional and cognitive analysis. In addition, in the higher grades they are increasingly oriented towards extracurricular and post-school fields of action in the private and professional areas.

Learning orientation and process orientation in foreign language teaching

Given the realities of the school as an institution, teaching is still seen as necessary. It is accepted, however, that even if the students do a good job , it does not lead to learning more or less automatically . So didactics today do not see any objects of teaching in the pupils, to which learning content is "conveyed". Rather, they are recognized as self-active “learners” who process the material presented and the information from the teacher for themselves (see teacher-student relationship ). They understand content on the basis of their individual learning dispositions (intellectual and affective factors) and ways of learning as well as their prior knowledge and their previous life and learning experiences (“ world knowledge ”); they integrate new information and corresponding content into this inventory and thus “construct” their knowledge (cf. constructivist didactics ). (This “construction” has nothing to do with the everyday meaning of the term in the sense of a consciously goal-oriented activity.) This shift from a naive “ instructionism ” to a “constructivist” position also changes the function of the teacher: they are strengthened as classrooms managers and learning facilitators who offer students help with their knowledge construction.

The essential foundations of this learning and process-oriented approach are:

  • Reflected interaction between opening and control (see above)
  • Promotion of largely self-determined learning ( learner autonomy )
  • Promotion of the development of individual learning strategies .

Product orientation

The aim of action-oriented teaching is to produce material and / or linguistic action products . This takes place in partner , group and project work (with joint discussion, planning and discussion; see model of the complete plot ): model , wall or class newspaper (possibly also as an exhibition ); Letter to the editor or leaflet (not only fictitious within the class, but real and thus intervening in a public discussion ); Participation in a prize draw or competition ; Simulation , role play , scenic play, music , dance , theater performance , parents' evening ; School trip , excursion , etc.

Action orientation in the following methods

Project teaching

Project teaching is an action-oriented, holistic , learner-centered, integrative form of learning that is open to the curriculum and is characterized by learner autonomy (self-organization, self-responsibility) and teamwork . The results are products in the sense mentioned above.

Free work

Free work is a form of open teaching that goes back to reform pedagogy . Depending on the degree of free work, the students work according to their interests in organizational, temporal, spatial, cooperative, methodical, content-related and individual freedom. In less radical forms of free work, the students freely choose materials from a prepared pool and work on them.

Station learning

Station learning, also known as learning at stations, station operation, station work or learning circles or learning counter (or teaching counter), is a teaching technique in which the pupils usually learn independently and independently using prepared materials that are arranged in stations.

Multi-dimensional learning

Multi-dimensional learning is a form of complex learning in which several learning potencies are activated in the learner and several learning processes are linked together at the same time. This means, for example, that sensual experiences such as touching, touching, feeling (sensory learning) go hand in hand with practical trying out and experimenting (motor / manual learning) as well as disassembling, comparing, understanding (understanding learning). The focus depends on the age of the learner, his preferred learning approach and the subject matter. Explore graders, for example, for this educational principle and from school independently under the objective of a school play to create all sorts of events on the way to school can practically practicing by playing with.

Learning by teaching

Since the early 1980s, the action-oriented method of learning through teaching (LdL) has established itself in all subjects and school types (including at universities). The concept was first tried out and disseminated in French lessons at high school by Jean-Pol Martin . In the handbook on French didactics by Nieweler (2006), LdL is characterized in the glossary as a “radical form of student and action orientation ”.

See also


  • Hans Aebli : Thinking: the ordering of doing. Volume 2: Thought Processes. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1981, ISBN 3-12-930130-5 .
  • Hans Aebli: Twelve basic forms of teaching. General didactics on a psychological basis. Media and content of didactic communication. The learning cycle. 12th edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-608-93044-2 .
  • Gerhard Bach , Johannes-Peter Timm (Ed.): English lessons. Basics and methods of an action-oriented teaching practice (= UTB 1540). 5th updated edition. A. Francke, Tübingen and Basel 2013, ISBN 978-3-8252-4037-0 .
  • Roman Dörig: Action-oriented teaching. Approaches, criticism and reorientation from an educational theory, curricular and instructional psychological perspective. WiKu, Stuttgart et al. 2003, ISBN 3-936749-73-6 (also: St. Gallen, University, habilitation paper, 2003).
  • Hartmut Giest: Action- oriented learning. In: Detlef Pech, Astrid Kaiser (Hrsg.): Basic knowledge of subject teaching. Volume 2: Newer concepts and objectives in subject teaching. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2004, ISBN 3-89676-862-X , pp. 90-98.
  • Herbert Gudjons : Teaching and learning in an action- oriented manner . Student activation - self-employment - project work. 6th, revised and expanded edition. Julius Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn / Obb. 2001, ISBN 3-7815-1131-6 .
  • Astrid Kaiser: Practical book of practical teaching. 11th, unchanged edition. Volume 1. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2007, ISBN 978-3-8340-0016-3 .
  • Michael Knoll : Dewey, Kilpatrick and “progressive” upbringing. Critical studies on project pedagogy. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2011, ISBN 978-3-7815-1789-9 .
  • Jean-Pol Martin : Proposal of an anthropologically based curriculum for foreign language teaching. Gunter Narr, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-8233-4373-4 (also: Eichstätt, Universität, habilitation paper, 1994).
  • Hilbert Meyer : teaching methods. 2 volumes (volume 1: theory volume. Volume 2: practice volume. ). Cornelsen Scriptor, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-589-20850-3 (Vol. 1), ISBN 3-589-20851-1 (Vol. 2).
  • Siegbert A. Warwitz : We create a game for ourselves on the way to school. First grader in an interdisciplinary project . In: Case-Word-Number 30 (2002) 47, p. 23ff.
  • Gerhard Wöll: Action: Learning through experience. Action orientation and project teaching (= basics of school pedagogy. Vol. 23). Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 1998, ISBN 3-89676-053-X (also: Weingarten, Pedagogical University, dissertation, 1997).
  • Rita Zellerhoff: Diversity of language education. Action-oriented and open-to-experience paths to language culture Peter Lang Edition, Frankfurt am Main 2013, ISBN 3-631-62983-4 (print); E- ISBN 3-653-03789-1 (e-book).


  1. Hilbert Meyer: Action-oriented, acting and student-oriented teaching. In: Hilbert Meyer: teaching methods. Volume 1: Theory volume . Cornelsen Scriptor, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-589-20850-3 , p. 214 ff.
  2. ^ Siegbert A. Warwitz : The school way game. In: Ders .: Traffic education from the child. Perceive-play-think-act. 6th edition. Schneider-Verlag, Baltmannsweiler 2009, ISBN 978-3-8340-0563-2 , pages 216-221.
  3. Andreas Nieweler (Ed.): French Subject Didactics. Tradition, innovation, practice. Klett, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-12-920222-6 , p. 318.