One of the primary goals of didactic research is to transfer university expertise in the field of biology into the teaching context in schools. The Department of Bioscience Education acts as a future-oriented interface between the Goethe University and the general public. Professor Paul Dierkes specialises both in training teachers and in developing innovative teaching methods for schools. This includes establishing a didactic concept for an educational laboratory project – the "Goethe-BioLab", which has been especially designed for students and offers school classes the opportunity to conduct scientific investigations on various biological topics. These are performed using state-of-the-art research equipment to increase the students' motivation, test their knowledge and to encourage teamwork. Cellular and molecular processes that are difficult to comprehend when only textbooks are used can be visualised, increasing students' enthusiasm for the subject and allowing young visitors and potential students to catch a first glimpse of what the Bioscience Programme at the Goethe University Frankfurt has to offer. The "Goethe-BioLab" trains prospective student teachers in both teaching and learning situations, allowing them to test the theoretical aspects of their course in practice. Another key research area concerns teaching in extracurricular learning environments. For this reason, Dierkes continues to establish and maintain contacts between schools and institutions such as Frankfurt's Palm Garden, the Senckenberg Museum, the Kronberg Opel Zoo as well as the Frankfurt Zoo.
Dierkes develops didactic concepts for the educational use of computers in the classroom for lesson preparation as well as evaluation. He devises new computer programmes and learning software and also evaluates them in practical application. Students working in Dierkes's research field learn how to apply didactic theory in the classroom and observe at first hand how students respond to these teaching concepts. In this manner, they can both evaluate the effectiveness of their approach and increase their competence in applying media in specific classroom-based contexts. As Dierkes states, "Our objective is to develop innovative biology teaching methods in schools and to provide training for teachers that is based on proven, state-of-the-art didactic methods". s.
Paul Dierkes studied Biology and Chemistry in Düsseldorf and Essen. He completed his doctoral thesis on the central nervous system of the medicinal leech at the University of Düsseldorf. Dierkes obtained his Habilitation there in 2005 on the topic of volume regulation in central nervous neurons and subsequently became a private lecturer. At the same time he was also Acting Head of the Institute of Neurobiology at the University of Wuppertal, and took on teaching duties in the field of didactics in biology, teaching both biology und chemistry at a Dortmund Realschule (middle school). In 2006 Dierkes came to the Goethe University Frankfurt as an interim professor at and was appointed professor in 2007. Since 2008 he has been responsible for the newly established "Goethe-Bio-Lab" for school students, as well as elearning in the Department of Bioscience Education
Prof. Dr. Paul Dierkes
Didaktik der Biowissenschaften
(Biologicum, Flügel D)
60438 Frankfurt am Main
Telephone: +49 (0)69/798 42270