Research project

GraL (junior research group): Conditions for the success of racism-sensitive teacher training? A racism-theoretical investigation of studies, teacher training, and career entry

Current research shows that schools and teacher training are not outside of racist conditions. Despite this high relevance, there are severe gaps in research for the German context. In particular, the different positions of students, trainee teachers, and teachers, as well as the potential experiences of racism of (prospective) teachers, have so far received little consideration.

Therefore, the GraL junior research group analyzes racism-relevant structures and moments in the three phases of teacher training: teacher training, teacher traineeship, and career entry. GraL aims to reconstruct, analyze, and theorize conditions that tend to enable the success of racism-sensitive teacher training and the associated establishment of racism-sensitive perspectives on pedagogical professionalism.


Educational spaces such as schools are central institutions in which knowledge relevant to racism is passed on, and actors are differentiated based on racist relations of difference. Schools are thus significantly involved in the reproduction of racist relations. Teacher training is an essential place for the professionalization of (prospective) teachers concerning acting in schools. For this, gaps are repeatedly marked concerning dealing with racism.

The junior research group is dedicated to these gaps empirically and conceptually and analyses the three phases of teacher training - studies, traineeship, and entry into the profession - regarding racism theory.


  1. Conditions   
    The reconstruction, analysis, and theorization of conditions that tend to enable the success of racism-sensitive teacher education
  2.   Experience
    Identification of exclusion mechanisms of teachers who potentially experience racism
  3. Pedagogical professionalism 
    Establishing racism-sensitive perspectives on pedagogical professionalism
  4. Educational research on racism
    Institutionalization and professionalization of educational research on racism with a view to teacher education

The project, design of the study

The junior research group conducts a fundamental racism-theoretical investigation of the three phases of teacher training with a view to structures and moments of teacher training relevant to racism. The structural conditions are reconstructed in the form of a discourse-analytical document analysis. To reconstruct the experiences and professional self-conceptions of (prospective) teachers, professional biographical and problem-centered interviews are conducted in all three phases at two study locations. The study is based on a longitudinal design, which means that some of the students surveyed at the beginning are also followed during their traineeship and career entry.

Methodological and theoretical approaches

It is linked to perspectives on racism theory that understand racism as a fundamental social relationship of difference in which people are differentiated into natio-ethno-cultural groups. From this perspective, racism is potentially, and to a large extent, implicitly and subtly effective in all areas of social coexistence so that no complete "outside" of racism is possible. Central theoretical and methodological approaches for GraL are

Critical Race Theory in Teacher Education (CRT)
A contextualizing and historicizing analysis characterizes the CRT approach. The experiential knowledge of people of color (BIPoC) is recognized and included. The approach, which originates from the US and UK context, is adapted and further developed in GraL in a context-sensitive manner.

Critical educational research on migration
Theoretical and methodological approaches from critical migration research in educational science relate to cultural studies approaches to research into educational relationships informed by racism theory.

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