Last Friday, under the motto “Past – Present – Future”, the Paderborn Centre for Educational Research and Teacher Training (PLAZ) - professional school at Paderborn University belatedly celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special event which had been postponed due to the pandemic. In a variety of interactive formats, participants journeyed through the history of the institution, from its foundation in 1995/96 as one of the first teacher training centres in North Rhine-Westphalia through to inspiring discussions and ideas centering on teacher training today and in the future.
“With the PLAZ professional school, Paderborn University is fortunate to have a dynamic, dedicated centre for all those involved in teacher training, who join forces here to shape the future of teacher training and to train future teachers,” said Professor Birgitt Riegraf, President of Paderborn University, congratulating the PLAZ professional school on its landmark anniversary and stating the important role the institution plays in the field of education. Dr Urban Mauer, State Secretary in the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Education, agreed with this, citing the state-wide reputation of the Paderborn professional school in his welcoming address: “Paderborn is renowned for its excellence in teacher training and its dedication to developing the teacher training of the future.” Sabine Kramm, Deputy Mayor of the city of Paderborn, talked about how this state-wide reputation also positively impacts the city and the region: “The excellent work of the PLAZ helps the city of Paderborn recruit the best qualified teachers.”
After the opening speeches, a panel discussion, moderated by Julia Ures, was held with student teachers from the university, who gave first-hand insights into students’ experiences of working with the PLAZ. “The PLAZ is the central contact point for everything relating to our studies. There’s always someone on hand to lend a sympathetic ear and provide you with the right support,” said student teachers Kira Brinkwirth and Carolin Honermann of the centre, and thanking it for its support. A short film produced especially for the anniversary event gave an overview of the special profile of teacher training at Paderborn University. Following these anniversary congratulations, Emeritus Professor Eckard König inspired the 250 attendees with his keynote speech, in which he discussed the importance of guidance in teacher training.
The afternoon was given over to the future of teacher training. In a series of workshops, participants worked on developing ideas and strategies for shaping teacher training in the future. They looked at, for example, the importance of citizenship education in schools and teacher training and the internationalisation of teacher training. “We got a lot of suggestions for designing future-oriented teacher training in conjunction with our partner institutions,” said Professor Bardo Herzig, Director of the PLAZ professional school, who was delighted with all the great ideas that attendees came up with and touched by all the good wishes bestowed on the institution. The event ended with a drinks reception that was enjoyed by all.