Armin JentschJörg DollIlse StangenDennis MeyerGabriele Kaiser

The Importance of Language-Related Characteristics and Usage of Content Areas Learning Opportunities at University for Student Teachers’ Knowledge Acquisition


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The present study examines how language-related characteristics of student teachers and the content areas they use in learning opportunities at university relate to their knowledge acquisition. The pedagogical content knowledge of N = 320 prospective German teachers and the general pedagogical knowledge of N = 1698 prospective teachers of all subjects were tested. We analyzed the multivariate correlations with two analogously specified structural equation models, which explained about 30 % of the variance in both knowledge domains. In accordance with our hypotheses, both knowledge domains showed a moderate negative effect of a non-German family language and a small positive effect of foreign language skills. An interaction hypothesis of both language variables was only supported by the data for general pedagogical knowledge. Furthermore, the usage of content areas in learning opportunities was related to knowledge acquisition with small (pedagogical content knowledge) or medium effect size (general pedagogical knowledge). The findings are discussed against the background of an opportunity-usage model. Amongst others, they indicate a large variety of different languages among prospective teachers with non-German family language.

student teachers, language-related characteristics, opportunities to learn, pedagogical content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge