What is tactful to ignore

23.10.2013 11:24

Recognize and fight against "right" ideas

Stephan Laudien Communication / Press Office
Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Political scientist from the University of Jena is helping to develop the teaching concept “Tactful against the Right”

A scribbled swastika on a pencil case or a racist interjection in class - how do teachers recognize whether they are dealing with right-wing extremist attitudes on the part of students? What should the appropriate responses be?

"The teacher is faced with the choice of moralizing, ignoring the matter or imposing a punishment," says Prof. Dr. Michael May from the University of Jena. Political didactic specialist May cannot offer a silver bullet for educators to behave appropriately in all situations. But well-founded assistance for prospective teachers.

Together with PD Dr. Karin Kleinespel from the Center for Teacher Training and Educational Research (ZLB) at the University of Jena and the Erfurt public prosecutor Uwe Strewe, Michael May developed the teaching concept “Tactful against the law”. It consists of two elements and will be offered for the first time in the winter semester that has just started. First of all, Michael May and Uwe Strewe offer the teaching trainee students a lecture on right-wing extremism in school during their practical semester. "First of all, it is about legal certainty when dealing with the phenomenon of right-wing extremism in schools," says Michael May. Right codes and symbols, whose criminality is classified, as well as disciplinary possibilities of the school system. In addition, the future educators will learn, according to May, that the problem has to be dealt with not only from a disciplinary point of view but also from an educational point of view. For this, the teachers need to be interested in the motives of conspicuous students.

While the first introductory lecture is open to all students in the practical semester, there is a case seminar for around 25 participants at the end of the semester. For this seminar, the students should note their own observations over the course of the semester in order to use concrete examples to discuss appropriate reactions.

The impetus for the new teaching unit “Tact against the Right” came about through the initiative of the Jena University to set up a competence center for right-wing extremism. “We thought about how we could make a concrete contribution,” says Prof. May. This is how the cooperation with the public prosecutor Uwe Strewe, who is involved in the “JUREGIO” project, came about. "JUREGIO - Legal Studies in Thuringia regional" was launched as a joint project of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and the Thillm Teacher Training Institute. The aim is to impart legal knowledge to Thuringian students, parents and teachers in dealing with violence, drugs, extremism and media abuse in schools.

Prof. May says that he is particularly pleased that the concept of “tactful against the law” has made political education relevant as a teaching principle for all subjects. "We are not limited to the subject of social studies, but rather reach teachers of all subjects," says the political didactic. He also points out that the title should not be perceived as trivializing. The "tactful" refers to the pedagogical approach of Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841). The pedagogue and psychologist had urged the teachers to "act tactfully" when dealing with the students. What is meant by this is that there can be no recipes for pedagogical action, but that the concrete teaching situation must always be taken into account.

Prof. Dr. Michael May
Institute for Political Science at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Carl-Zeiß-Strasse 3, 07743 Jena
Tel .: 03641/945493
Email: m.may [at] uni-jena.de

Additional Information:


Features of this press release:
Journalists, teachers / students
Pedagogy / education, politics
Research results, studies and teaching