School book

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mural primer from 1847

A school book is a printed product for the hand of the pupil , which is used to fulfill the curriculum of a subject in terms of goals and contents depending on the school type. Curricula differ according to federal state, age group and type of school. In some federal states, digital media are also possible as school books in addition to printed products . School books contain the subject matter in a technically correct, but age-appropriate and didactically prepared form. This usually means a simplified representation that represents scientifically still controversial questions in accordance with the prevailing doctrine .


A textbook brings certain problems and teaching content of a subject of the respective class or school level closer. Depending on the subject, texts , images , tables and formulas are the main pillars of the lesson. The main features of the content are often given by a state commission. In Baden-Württemberg this is the State Institute for School Development Baden-Württemberg (see web link).

Approval of school books

In Germany, textbooks for teaching in state schools generally require approval by the Ministry of Education or the competent authority of the respective federal state (Germany) or the Ministry of Education (Austria). In some German federal states, school book approval was abolished, for example in Berlin in 2004.

In principle, schoolbooks for vocational schools and schoolbooks for upper school do not require approval.

Whether the approval is granted by the Ministry of Education or a separate authority (in Baden-Württemberg e.g. the State Institute for School Development ) is regulated in the respective ordinances of the Ministers of Education based on the school laws of the individual federal states. The textbook admission ordinance and the School Act (§ 94 relates to the freedom of teaching materials) in Baden-Württemberg are given as a web link as examples of these regulations.

The ministries of education keep school book directories or catalogs of the school books approved in the federal state. Schools are free to choose textbooks, as far as permitted.

When new subjects or professions are introduced (in the vocational sector, for example) the problem arises that there is a lack of suitable teaching material on the market. These needs are often met by a variety of materials that teachers collect and compile. The situation is similar when curricula are changed (at the country level). In contrast to other publishers, textbook publishers are therefore constantly looking for authors who are willing to write new textbooks or update old ones. For obvious reasons, the authors are usually teachers.

Accompanying material

In addition to the actual school books, many school book publishers offer additional books and exercise books , such as work and exercise books with tasks. These can, but do not have to be, used in class or for homework .

The accompanying material also includes separate booklets with the solutions to the tasks that are provided in a textbook or workbook. They are intended to make it easier for the teacher to check things quickly or to enable the student to independently check their own performance. Such booklets are called solution booklets or teachers booklets . If a booklet or book also contains explanations, overviews and suggestions for teachers, the work is often offered as a teacher’s volume or teacher’s manual for the textbook in question. Such accompanying materials can often only be acquired by teachers (e.g. with a school stamp) in order to prevent misuse by or distribution to students. This usually happens because, in addition to the solutions, such accompanying materials often contain suggestions for learning and performance monitoring (e.g. for tests, class work and exams).


In most of the federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany and in Austria, all pupils received textbooks free of charge from 1972 to the mid- 1990s , as part of the so-called freedom of learning materials (FRG) or textbook campaign (A). Between 1995 and 2010, a flat-rate deductible had to be paid in Austria, staggered according to school level. In Germany there are different solutions in the federal states and down to the individual schools.

To a significant extent, teaching material created or compiled by the teacher has taken its place. This applies in particular to free work , group work and work in the upper level of the grammar school. Due to the requirements of the curricula, it is advisable to jointly create these teaching materials. Insofar as the teaching materials are based on conventional school books, such collaborations are strictly limited due to copyright reasons. Therefore, there are first approaches to apply the ideas of Open Access and Open Content to the creation of school books, such as the complementary initiatives “SchulbuchWiki” and the school books at Wikibooks . How this can work was examined in an examination at the Westphalian Wilhelms University .

Open access regulations are not met with much approval from school book publishers, as can be seen in a press release from VdS Bildungsmedien eV . This communication also shows that the sector turnover for school books and educational software in general and vocational schools fell by around 5% in 2008, from € 350 million to € 333 million. This trend continued in 2009, albeit to a lesser extent. According to this association, public spending on textbooks (retail sales) fell from 398 to 224 million euros between 1991 and 2007.

Spelling reform

School books and thus school book publishers are particularly affected by the spelling reform in German-speaking countries .

International coordination and textbook research

Since school books are particularly suitable for spreading and consolidating selected knowledge and values, but also ideologies , the research branch of school book research deals, among other things, with the analysis of the origin, use and content of school books and educational media. International textbook commissions are working on standardizing overly contradicting representations in accordance with the state of scientific research (cf. historical policy , historical image ). According to the information on its website, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research examines "in an international comparison social patterns of interpretation, orientation aids and identity offers that are conveyed through educational systems, institutionally secured and thus legitimized". It concentrates on historical, political and geographical teaching and learning media.


In October 2007, Stiftung Warentest found serious breakdowns on average on every fifth page of ten biology books examined. Analyzed history books contained almost the same number of errors. One book each (“Nautilus Biologie 2nd Edition A” or “Times and People”) was “good” - also in terms of user-friendliness and without unnecessarily heavy texts. Three books had so many errors that they were rated “poor”.

The school book publishers protested, so that the foundation - otherwise unusual - published research results.

An earlier study on nutrition topics in schoolbooks also came to the conclusion that these had serious deficiencies in terms of content.

Historical school books


  • Ferdinand Bünger : Development history of the Volksschullesebuches . Edited using official sources. Leipzig 1898. Foreword by Klaus Doderer . Introduction by Ingeborg Hass with a pragmatic bibliography. Reprint Detlev Auvermann, Glashütten im Taunus 1972
  • Jörg Doll et al. (Ed.): Focus on school books: uses, effects and evaluation . Waxmann, Münster etc. 2012, ISBN 978-3-8309-2670-2
  • Anja Ballis , Ann Peyer: Learning media and learning tasks in German lessons. Concepts and analyzes. Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, ISBN 3-7815-1839-6 (contributions to historical and systematic textbook research).
  • Felicitas Macgilchrist, Lars Müller: Colonialism and Modernization - The Struggle for “Africa” in School Book Development (Case Study: Supporting the Development of a School Book for History). In: Manuel Aßner, Jessica Breidbach et al. (Ed.): AfrikaBilder im Wandel? Sources, continuities, effects and breaks . Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-631-61568-3 .
  • Eckhardt Fuchs; Joachim Kahlert; Uwe Sandfuchs (Ed.): Textbook concrete: Contexts - Production - Lessons . Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn 2010, ISBN 978-3-7815-1775-2

See also

Web links

Commons : School book  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: School books at Wikibooks  - learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Textbook  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. For example, Section 1, Paragraph 2 of the Saxon Learning Resources Ordinance of June 19, 2017, SächsGVBl. P. 371.
  2. For example, Section 1, Paragraph 1, Clause 2 of the Admission Ordinance, last amended by the ordinance of March 11, 2016 (GVBl. P. 65, Free State of Bavaria).
  3. The school shelf at Wikibooks is the entry point to the emerging texts of school books.
  4. The SchulbuchWiki links curriculum specifications with materials using material distribution plans .
  5. ^ Christian Finke: Concept for a Wikibook as a textbook for computer science lessons . (PDF) Written term paper as part of the first state examination for teaching at grammar schools and comprehensive schools
  6. Press release from June 23, 2009 ( Memento of the original from March 7, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. of VdS Bildungsmedien e. V. on the 2009 Annual General Meeting. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. VdS Bildungsmedien e. V.
  8. Press release of March 11, 2010 ( Memento of the original of June 28, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. of VdS Bildungsmedien e. V. The figures given there can also be found in the report Daddeln instead of Didactics ( memento of the original from March 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. of the "book report". @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. Table "Public textbook editions 1991 to 2007"  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) can be found on the VdS website under Publications → Downloads → Market / Freedom of Learning Resources ( Memento of the original from November 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /   @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. test , 10/2007
  11. School books: Bad report . In: test , 10/2001. September 27, 2007; Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  12. ^ Textbook: A mistake is not a mistake is a mistake ..., November 8, 2007; Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  13. "We tried to objectify as much as possible" ., November 8, 2012; accessed on June 3, 2012 (interview with Holger Brackemann, Head of Product Tests II at Stiftung Warentest).
  14. Helmut Heseker: Specialized analysis of nutrition issues in textbooks . (PDF; 121 kB) University of Paderborn, 2001; Retrieved June 3, 2012.