Social form

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In the technical language of didactics , the relationships in class are regulated by the social form . Externally it is recognizable in the seating and room arrangement, internally it shows the structure of communication and interaction. The term was coined by Wolfgang Schulz .

Four social forms

Depending on whether a learning group (usually a school class) is busy with the same task as a whole or is divided into smaller groups, there is one of the four social forms:

Group work up to a maximum of five people and partner work is collectively referred to as small group work. Mixed forms occur when the students are free to choose between individual and partner work, which can be useful , for example, when working on tasks in math lessons.

The plenum represents a special form . Plenum means general assembly. Professionals or reports are heard. These professionals are high school students or small groups of students. It is thus the social form to tell something, to demonstrate, to represent, etc. (presentation situation), a kind of "student-side teaching".

Social form and form of work

Each lesson phase can usually be assigned exactly one social form and one type of work. The use of language is, however, inconsistent in that a clear distinction is not always made between social and work forms or forms of action. Based on Hilbert Meyer , it makes sense to differentiate based on two questions:

  • Who works with whom? (= Social form)
  • Which behavioral patterns (e.g. giving a lecture, writing dictation) should be carried out? (= Form of work).

Both questions are to be decided separately in each lesson and should be reflected on in terms of their fit with one another and with regard to the other lesson factors (topic, goals, media, requirements of the students).

Different forms of work are possible within a given social form; for example, includes such class instruction u. a. the forms of work

For lists of forms of work that are still unordered, see teaching method , learning method , list of teaching methods .

In the case of younger students in particular, it is advisable to switch between two or more forms of work during a lesson (methodological variance) in order to prevent attention fatigue . In individual cases, this fact can even have the consequence that the teacher does not choose the selected method for the given planned lesson phase, but instead inserts an additional lesson phase with an activating method to stimulate the students.


  • Hilbert Meyer: teaching methods. Volume 1: Theory volume . Scriptor, Frankfurt am Main 1987. 10th edition: Cornelsen Scriptor, Berlin 2002.
  • Hilbert Meyer: teaching methods. Volume 2: Practice volume. Scriptor, Frankfurt am Main 1987. 10th edition: Cornelsen Scriptor Berlin 2003.
  • Schulz, Wolfgang (1965): Lessons - Analysis and Planning.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Schulz, Wolfgang (1965): Teaching - Analysis and Planning. P. 32