INSTITUTE FOR
DIDACTIC AND
EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

Projects


  1. Brain research
  2. DaF and general language training research
  3. Holism (learning processes; comprising many fields, e.g. music therapy)
  4. Knowledge transfer
  5. Successful instruction and learning
  6. Learning disabilities
  7. Adult education
  8. Music
  9. EQ (emotional intelligence and Executive Quality)
10. (High)school and university development respectively
11. Unorthodox teaching and learning methods (NLP, suggestopedia, etc.)
12. The science of interpreting

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1. Brain research                                 

   (Neuropathology, Endocrinology, Psychoneuroendocrinology)

Deals with a type of circuit-diagram of the psyche and the spirit in the human brain, the cerebellum being the prototype. Using this concept, one can much better understand the mutual influences and coordination of the most important brain layers.
We are in close co-operation with several Max Planck Institutes as well as particularly with GMA, AAIDD, NHMRC, NWG and FENS. 
Important key phrases:
                 · Functional brain research (= research focus in our German institute) 
                 · methods and purposes of brain research    Genetic influences
                 · information reception organization 
                 · the gate to consciousness 
                 · associated fields 
                 · blank fields 
                 · is the brain a " biological computer? " 
                 · the importance of memory 
                 · the three types of the memory 
                 · the unconscious enslavement mechanism 
                 · the appetence-aversion principle 
                 · the unconscious 
                 · forgetting – displacing/repressing 
                 · feelings 
                 · aggression 
                 · psychosomatic phenomenon 
                 · study of pain
                 · hormones 
                 · sexuality 
                 · drugs, pills, psychopharmacological drugs 
                 · addiction 
                 · the will 

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2. DaF / language training research

"German as a foreign language" (some countries also use different terms like "German as a second language" etc.) was founded in 1974 in the Federal Republic of Germany and has since then enjoyed worldwide popularity.  Even in the most distant and unknown countries "DaF" is taught in universities.
Important key phrases:
              · German is a foreign language, even for many Germans 
                 · "DaF" differs considerably from Germanic philology 
                 · "DaF" studies cannot be done unless there is a sufficient knowledge of
                    German found in all universities where the German language is in use. 
                 · introduction of PNDS, tests in order to examine practical knowledge of
                   German (Proof of an adequate knowledge of German, un examen permettant
                   d’établier le niveau des connaissances en allemand, un examen de acreditación
                   de conocimientos de alemán). 
                 · university access authorization 
                 · evaluation of language knowledge 
                 · language training courses 
                 · courses preparing studies at universities 
                 · courses in language training 
                 · applied speech sciences 

Language training research: Exploration of conditions, methods and results of the learning process in acquiring first or second languages whereby forms of instruction, learning objectives, and evaluation procedures come the fore. 

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3. Holism (learning processes and procedures covering many areas, e.g. music therapy)

Hofstadter uses Escher's pictures in order to illustrate Bach's music as well as show the abundance of ideas of great diversity such as logic, biology, psychology, physics, "Zen" Buddhism, mathematics, neurology.  He does this to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of modern science: our inability to grasp the meaning of thinking (= classic paradox). 

Our surrounding reality is always of multidisciplinary character. If this is true, why dissect it?  In order to categorize?

One of many examples is music therapy. Here music is used for therapeutic purposes touching aspects of the physiological, psychological, sociological and psychoanalytical.

Important key phrases:
                 · normative interdisciplinary universities (and other similar establishments) 
                 · selected methods for teaching organization 
                 · development of concepts 
                 · motivation for work cooperation 
                 · verification of results and progress control 
                 · individualizing a "Meta Method" 
                 · combined subjects (e.g. music in combination with psychotherapy, behavior
                   therapy, relaxation exercises, using "catathymic" pictures, autosuggestive
                   aphorisms, kinematic therapy, drama, creative activities, "color light" therapy and
                   further methods.)

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4. Knowledge transfer

Important key phrases: 
                 · subjective vs. objective knowledge 
                 · product orientation vs. process orientation 
                 · the psychology of memory vs. realization psychology 
                 · moderating instead of pontifical methods 
                 · personal solutions vs. expert's solutions 
                 · theory born out of experience 
                 · from variety to the systematic 
                 · realizations reflection
                 · analyzing knowledge 
                 · question-guided information transfer 
                 · problem-oriented procedure instructions 
                 · forming of opinion using arguments 
                 · psychological learning schemata

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5. Successful instruction and learning

Important key phrases:
                 · interdisciplinary instruction 
                 · instruction based on psychological principles 
                 · methods of instruction such as: 
                 · brainstorming 
                 · mind mapping 
                 · e-learning and e-teaching 
                 · problem solving 
                 · note taking 
                 · acquiring knowledge 
                 · literature club 
                 · presentation 
                 · visual aids 
                 · watching, observing 
                 · employing the imagination 
                 · conversing 
                 · role playing 
                 · practice using repetition 
                · transferring into action and image
                 · interpreting

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6. Learning disabilities

There are four types of learning disabilities: 
        a. Learning disabilities caused by inadequate educational conditions. 
        b. Disabilities caused by negative factors in families and by other non-school influences. 
        c. Disabilities inherent to the personality. 
        d. Disabilities due to difficulties in the field of general education. 

Important key phrases:
                 · NILD (as one of many expedients)
                 · LRS (deficits concerning reading and writing ability) 
                 · dyslexia 
                 · legasthenia 
                 · dyskalculia 
                 · perception disturbances 
                 · orientation problems 
                 · learning problems 
                 · ADDS 
                 · ADHD 
                 · POS

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7. Adult education

Important key words: 
                 · andragogy 
                 · gerontagogy 
                 · teaching in the field of adult education 
                 · adult education through science 
                 · army: "in Switzerland the army is the most important institution for adult
                   education" (Wittmann) 
                 · education for women 
                 · the desire for self-realization 
                 · the rediscovery of general education 
                 · learning how to act based on historical lessons 
                 · advanced education

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8. Music

Music instruction aids verbal memory

Hong Kong study explored music training

Those dreaded piano lessons pay off in unexpected ways: According to a new study, children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than their counterparts without such training. Plus, the longer the training, the better the verbal memory. These findings underscore how, when experience changes a specific brain region, other skills that region supports may also benefit –- a kind of cognitive side effect that could help people recovering from brain injury as well as healthy children. The research appears in the July issue of Neuropsychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Psychologists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied 90 boys between age six and 15. Half had musical training as members of their school's string orchestra program, plus lessons in playing classical music on Western instruments, for one to five years. The other 45 participants were schoolmates with no musical training. The researchers, led by Agnes S. Chan, Ph.D., gave the children verbal memory tests, to see how many words they recalled from a list, and a comparable visual memory test for images.

Students with musical training recalled significantly more words than the untrained students, and they generally learned more words with each subsequent trial of three. After 30-minute delays, the trained boys also retained more words than the control group. There were no such differences for visual memory. What's more, verbal learning performance rose in proportion to the duration of musical training.

Thus, the authors say, even fewer than six years of musical training can boost verbal memory. More training, they add, may be even better because of a "greater extent of cortical reorganization in the left temporal region." In other words, the more that music training stimulates the left brain, the better that side can handle other assigned functions, such as verbal learning. It's like cross training for the brain, comparable perhaps to how runners find that stronger legs help them play tennis better – even though they began wanting only to run. Similarly, says Chan, "Students with better verbal memory probably will find it easier to learn in school."

Chan, along with Yim-Chi Ho, M.Phil., and Mei-Chun Cheung, Ph.D., followed up a year later with the 45 orchestra students. Thirty-three boys were still in the program; nine had dropped out fewer than three months after the first study. The authors now compared a third group of 17 children who had started music training after the initial assessment. This beginner's group initially had shown significantly lower verbal-learning ability than the more musically experienced boys. However, one year later, these newer students again showed significant improvement in verbal learning.

On the other hand, unlike the music students who stuck it out, the dropouts showed no further improvement. However, although the beginners and the continued-training groups tended to improve significantly, there was one consolation for the dropouts: At least they didn't backtrack. After a year, they didn't lose the verbal memory advantage they had gained prior to stopping lessons.

Ho, Cheung and Chan propose that music training during childhood is a kind of sensory stimulation that "somehow contributes to the reorganization-better development of the left temporal lobe in musicians, which in turn facilitates cognitive processing mediated by that specific brain area, that is, verbal memory." They contrast their evidence with inconclusive reports that listening to Mozart improves spatiotemporal reasoning, which most researchers have been unable to replicate. At the same time, Chan notes that it's too simplistic to divide brain functions (such as music) strictly into left or right, because "our brain works like a network system, it is interconnected, very co-operative and amazing."

Most important, the authors say, "the [current] findings suggest that specific experience might affect the development of memory in a predictable way in accordance with the localization of brain functions. … Experience might affect the development of cognitive functions in a systematic fashion." More research is needed, but knowledge of this mechanism can "stimulate further investigation into ways to enhance human brain functioning and to develop a blueprint for cognitive rehabilitation, such as using music training to enhance verbal memory."

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9. EQ (emotional intelligence and Executive Quality)

When, in 1995, Goleman published the book "Emotional Intelligence" he implemented the term "E.Q.", "Emotional Quality", in contrast to "I.Q.", meaning "Intelligence Quotient". For him, the question is how to activate human emotions as a "superior ability". 

Approximately during the same time, Nellen also developed an E.Q. program, unaware of the fact that the book mentioned above was being written. Nellen's E.Q. program serves as a way to measure leadership qualities and is therefore named "Executive Quality". Its purpose is to provide an external, objective method of evaluation.  Thus intransparent problems such as unprofessionalism, incomparability, subjectivity, unacceptance, competitive thinking, (i.g. attempts of falsification) remain excluded.

This program can precisely determine how tested individuals compare to one another, even how they might handle future problems.  The test results can be transferred to charts, thus giving the customer a tool by which to calculate the “if factors”, and he is in this way helped to make a wise decision.

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10. (High)school and university development respectively

The Institute for International Didactic and Educational Research has committed to this area of research. Nellen has been involved in (high)school and university development for 25 years and has observed that people continue to make the same mistakes. Currently, a mandate has been given for Basel and its "reformitis" as well as for all of Switzerland.

Important key phrases:
                 · learning from the repeated mistakes 
                 · new methods of learning
                 · training in methods 
                 · innovation management 
                 · education of leaders in pedagogy 
                 · cultivating network in the region                         Czech example  
                 · qualification programs 
                 · high school and university intern supervision 
                 · new orientation to teachers’ training 
                 · new orientation to teachers’ advanced training 
                 · convincing coaching/training systems 
                 · quality management (Kaizen, etc.) 
                 · educational development of quality

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11. Unorthodox teaching and learning methods (NLP, Suggestopedia, etc.)

NLP axioms, in principle, are based on the following hypotheses: 
a. Humans react according to their own subjective sense of reality, not to reality as it is. 
b. Spirit and body are components of the same cybernetic system and influence one another
     mutually. 

Intentions of NLP: 
a. improvement of one's own comprehension regarding the process of communication 
b. refinement of perception 
c. supporting motivations of collaborators 
d. developing one's personality 
e. clarifying conflicts in order to de-escalate them 
f. developing the ability to distinguish between content and form in conversation 
g. development of the ability to "meet a partner where he is at”
h. discovering and realizing personal goals
i. making individuals conscious and aware of previously unknown abilities
j. learning how to intervene in conflict

International federations: INLPTA and Society of NLP 

Suggestopedia (Superlearning) 

The definition of suggestopedia is as follows: 
A new method showing how to transfer foreign languages. This method is based on the asymmetric structures of the two hemispheres of the human brain and attempts to combine them.
 

left hemishere 

Language
- grammar
- verbal terms
- kinetics of language
- language analysis
- production of language
 
 

Analysis of details
 
 

Time
Arithmetic functions 

Logic

right hemisphere

Language
- words
- concrete conceptions 
- expressing languages / intonation / voice recognition
- communicative comprehension
- speech intentions

Singing
Gesturing / mimicry
Recognizing of faces
Detecting forms of faces / pictures / shapes
The whole of a situation
Social competence
Space
Geometric functions

Emotion

Important key phrases: 
                 · handling of non-verbal means of expression 
                 · handling of music (and its control) 
                 · how to handle relaxation 
                 · interaction forms 
                 · EEG waves: Delta (1-3,5 Hz), Theta (4-7 Hz)-, Alpha 1(7,5-9 Hz), Alpha 2
                   (9,5-12,5 Hz), Beta 1 (13-18 Hz), Beta 2 (18,5-31,5 Hz) 

                 Further unconventional methods and tools:

                · prime Reading 
                 · Davis method 
                 · hypnosis 
                 · cure of souls 
                 · relaxation through selfhypnosis 
                 · ONE BRAIN correction 
                 · therapeutic pedagogy 
                 · psychoanalytical method 
                 · individual-psychological method 
                 · psychokathartical method 
                 · psychoskill 
                 · depth psychology 
                                                     etc.....

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12. The science of interpreting

The interpreting science (also called translation science) refers to the process of the transfer of information from one language to another. In doing so, everything depends on the prerequisite that the form of the target language is in a shape of utmost conformity in comparison to the source language. The basic requirement for translation is the suitability being translated, i.g. the possibility that all statements in their substance can be translated in the same manner. 

Important key phrases:
                 · linguistic determinism 
                 · Sapir Whorf hypothesis 
                 · variability, polysemy and imprecise meaning of words 
                 · machine assisted translation 
                 · interpreting (oral translation) 
                 · problems of interference 
                 · living languages                                            6800 main languages
                 · dead languages

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