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Team Becker

Empirical Educational Research with a focus on Individual Developmental Trajectories and Institutional Contexts

Human developmental trajectories across the lifespan depends both on individual features and environmental factors. The relative importance of these characteristics may change in different phases of life and in different areas of human development. To give an example: In many regards, parents play an important and dominating role for their children from early childhood until early adolescence. However, as soon as children reach puberty, other aspects take on greater significance. Schools play an important, maybe even the most important role regarding educational learning and, on a more general term, cognitive development of children.

Mehrere Schülerinnen und Schüler laufen über den Zebrastreifen einer Straße vor ihrem Schulgebäude © martinedoucet​/​

Moreover, schools influence self-referred cognition, interests and other psychosocial features significantly. Life span research in particular was able to work out how individual and social characteristics (such as educational competencies and certificates, gender, socioeconomic status) interact with institutional contexts and how this influences educational trajectory and life course from a historical point-of-view. 

This describes exactly the research projects of my working group that are essentially grouped around the meaning of differential context conditions, especially the importance of educational learning environments regarding individual educational trajectories and life courses. We focus on three different topics:

a) Effects of institutional contexts and macrostructures on cognitive and psychosocial development in primary and secondary education

b) Effects of individual factors and institutional contexts and their interaction on the development across the lifespan

c) Changes and reforms of the educational system’s structure and their consequences

We elaborate these topics by approaching them from different angles; still, we usually use large-scale-studies. My working group pays special attention to the BERLIN and BIJU studies. For decades now, these studies have accompanied pupils during their way through the school system, during professional education until their professional and adult life.

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Location & approach

The most convenient highway exits are on the B 1/A 40 (Dortmund-Barop) (closer to the North Campus) and on the A45 (Dortmund-Eichlinghofen). The university is signposted at both exits. In the local road network you will find signs to Campus Nord, where the Campus Treff is also located. From Emil-Figge-Strasse, entrance no. 18 and from Vogelspothsweg entrance no. 23 lead to parking spaces near the venue.

From Dortmund main station, take the S-Bahn "S1" in the direction of Solingen on track 7 to the stop "Dortmund-Universität" (price level A). The S-Bahn runs every 15 minutes during peak hours on weekdays and takes about 6 minutes. From Düsseldorf, the S-Bahn runs every 30 minutes. Directly at the S-Bahn station you will find the CDI building, which houses the Center for Research on Education and School Development.

One of the university's landmarks is the H-Bahn, which has two terminuses on the North Campus. One is located directly above the S-Bahn station and is easily accessible from it by elevators. The other is located in the center of Campus North at the bridge between the University Library and the Mensa, right next to the Audimax. The H-Bahn runs from here to the South Campus and the Eichlinghofen district.

Dortmund has an airport connected with some destinations in Central Europe. There are regular flights, for example, to Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Katowice, Krakow, Leipzig-Halle, London, Munich, Nuremberg, Paris, Poznan, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich. For the approximately 20 kilometers from the Dortmund airport to the campus, you can take the bus to the main train station and from there the S-Bahn. Faster is usually the use of a cab. Far more international flight connections are offered by the Rhine-Ruhr Airport in Düsseldorf, about 60 kilometers away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university station.