Class instruction

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Class teaching in a primary school in Sierra Leone
Class lessons in high school, Bonn (1988)

Class teaching is a teaching concept, a didactic model and a social form that is based on the premise that it is the teacher's task to teach the students something, and from this derives rules for the most effective design of class teaching. The social form of class teaching is a setting within which different teaching and work forms can take place. Since the 1960s, the term classroom teaching has been replaced by the term frontal teaching as part of the school reforms .

Form of instruction

The term frontal teaching is often associated with the work form or method of the teacher lecture or the questioning-developing teaching, although class teaching is initially a social form. The term is therefore often criticized - the reform pedagogical methods most favored today are diametrically opposed to the forms of work and should fundamentally be replaced by them. Class or frontal teaching can also be used intensively with alternative methods. As a social form in the traditional sense, class lessons should and will continue to be used in many forms of teaching . To this day, frontal teaching in teacher training is almost a bad word; Trainee teachers are often given the impression that all other social forms are per se superior.

Other social forms are group work , partner work and individual work . In class instruction, unlike in the other social forms, the learning group is not divided; Ideally, all are busy with the same task; every contribution claims everyone's attention. The teacher is there and has a controlling, controlling, guiding or teaching role. With the learning through teaching (LdL) method , the control of the lessons is transferred to the pupils in phases or continuously.

Perhaps it is time to stop playing off teacher-led teaching and student-centered learning against each other and claim that one is old-fashioned and overwhelming, the other future-oriented and empowering. Both approaches clearly have their place. "

- Andreas Schleicher OECD 2019, after visiting the Michaela Community School

Forms of class teaching

Class lessons can take place in very different forms of work . By far the most frequently used are teacher presentations , questioning-developing lessons , class discussions, but also demonstration experiments , mental arithmetic exercises, games and many other teaching methods are forms of class teaching.

Frontal teaching

"Frontal teaching" in mathematics for adults, University of Helsinki

The term frontal teaching is used inconsistently: either synonymous with classroom teaching or restricted to certain forms of work , mostly teacher lectures and questioning-developing lessons . Wiechmann (2000) was able to trace the origin of the word frontal teaching back to an essay by Petersen and Petersen (1954); since the 1960s the term has been used as a matter of course, mostly with derogatory intent, in order to distinguish the preferred group work and other open forms of teaching from it. Although the frontal teaching today is still the teaching style most commonly used in everyday school life, it is a stepchild of scientific Didaktik.Der educationalist Andreas Helmke different traditional teacher-centered frontal class teaching and alternative teaching and learning forms (eg. Small group work, discussions, independent work, project learning, Learning circles etc.).

Special concepts of class teaching

  • the genetic-exemplary-Socratic lessons by Martin Wagenschein . With this teaching method, Martin Wagenschein tried to get away from the school as a "completion machine" for "superficially going through the knowledge catalog" in typical knowledge-based frontal teaching. He does not want to immediately present the desired results to the students in a formulated form, or to steer the students there on fixed paths through specific teacher questions, but rather to offer them space for their own considerations. The teacher simply gives food for thought through his questions.
  • Direct instruction is often improperly referred to as frontal teaching, although this is actually a modern methodology that is not restricted to specific social forms.

Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Finland

Class teaching in a Beijing middle school (2014)

The Pisa study rarely mentions the methods (quality of teaching) by which the successes are achieved. It is striking that in the leading Pisa countries such as China , Singapore , Japan , Taiwan or once leading countries such as Finland , despite occasional problems in the classroom that the children have to deal with alone, the teacher's classroom instruction is dominant.


  • Karl Aschersleben: Frontal teaching - classic and modern. An introduction . Luchterhand Verlag, Neuwied / Kriftel 1999.
  • Herbert Gudjons : Frontal teaching rediscovered. Integration in open forms of teaching. Beltz Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-781-51124-3 .
  • Herbert Gudjons: Frontal teaching - but good . In: Herbert Godjons (ed.): Methodology to touch. Teaching beyond routine . Bad Heilbrunn / Obb., Pp. 9–40.
  • Peter Petersen and E. Petersen: The analysis of frontal teaching with the help of educational recording and list of facts , in: Scientific journal of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena 3, 1954, pp. 509-529.
  • Jürgen Wiechmann: Frontal teaching , in: Twelve teaching methods , Beltz, 2000.
  • Hilbert Meyer: Teaching methods, practical volume II , Cornelsen Verlag, 12th edition, Berlin 2003, pp. 182–226.
  • Andreas Vogel: The bad frontal teaching. In: B. Wisniewski, A. Vogel: School on astray - myths, errors and superstitions in education. Schneider, Baltmannsweiler 2013, ISBN 978-3834012562 .
  • Andreas Helmke: Teacher professionalism and teaching quality . Klett / Kallmeyer, Seelze-Velber 6th edition. 2015
  • Jacob S. Kounin: Techniques of Class Management: Standard Works from Psychology and Education . Hans Huber Verlag Bern / Stuttgart 1976, Reprint Waxmann Verlag GmbH 2006, ISBN 978-3830915171 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Frontal teaching  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Quotation John Hattie : Every year I give lectures to prospective teachers and find that they are already indoctrinated with the mantra: 'Constructivism is good, direct teaching [direct instruction] is bad'. When I show them the results of these meta-analyzes, they are stunned and often angry because they have been presented with a set of truths and commandments against direct teaching. ( Visible Learning , page 204)
  2. Jacob S. Kounin: techniques of classroom management: standard works of psychology and education.
  3. Andreas Schleicher OECD, November 20, 2019: Where “working hard and being kind” are part of the curriculum
  4. ^ Herbert Gudjons: Frontal teaching rediscovered. Integration in open forms of teaching. Beltz Publishing House.
  5. Helmke 2015: p. 269
  6. Cf. Martin Wellenreuther: "Direct instruction - the ugly duckling of education?". In: teaching. Friedrich Annual Booklet XXXIV 2016.
  7. ↑ In 1990 a national, competence-oriented / constructivist curriculum was introduced (The finish National Board of Education, 2004) and since 2009 Finland has been falling at Pisa
  8. Rainer Dollase: What makes a successful teaching? Bielefeld University 2004