Didactics of German is a fairly young science,

which only became established as such in the 1960s. It therefore had to prove its right to exist again and again and fight for appropriate university facilities. It had to assert itself both against German Studies, in which it is mostly anchored in organizational terms and where it was often considered subordinate, and against German classes, which often thought they could do without an academic basis. Or, to put it more scientifically, it is located "between the reference disciplines of specialist sciences and educational sciences, in the area of tension between theoretical knowledge and practical application, in the complexity and diversity of the possible and necessary approaches to the question at hand." (Christoph Bräuer (ed.): Thought framework of German didactics. The identity of the discipline in the discussion. Frankfurt: Peter Lang 2016, 7) This applies to Austria even more than to Germany. My work since the second half of the 1980s has always been shaped by this initial situation, although not exclusively determined by it.


My position as a federal teacher in the university service at the Institute for German Studies at the University of Klagenfurt (initially only limited to one year) from 1988 enabled me to build up the content and organizational foundations for Austrian German didactics that hardly existed at the time. 

The journal that already existed at the institute was a decisive instrument information on German didactics (id), which at that time was purely a review organ. I turned it into a magazine with four issues a year (“Magazine for German lessons in science and school”) with the aim of systematically covering all areas of German didactics and offering Austrian teachers and scientists a publication opportunity. I also founded a scientific advisory board for the journal with representatives from all Austrian universities and teachers from different types of schools. 

In 1993, I was able to gain a very competent colleague to work with in Eva Rastner (who unfortunately died in 2006). Together we gave the we the ideal and organized nationwide conferences on German didactics with speakers from all over the German-speaking area (1989, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2005). 

The book series was also founded in 1999 ide-extra in the study publishing house. This is how a network of university German didactics in Austria came into being. 

In the course of the didactic reform efforts (“IMST process”), which were mainly pursued by Konrad Krainer and Roland Fischer (IFF faculty of the University of Klagenfurt), an independent German didactic institute was established in 2006, initially Austrian competence center for German didactics named, which lasted until my retirement in 2016. Since the establishment of the institute, the journal ideal headed by Ursula Esterl as editor, with the Scientific Advisory Board playing a very active role.

In 2007 I obtained the first professorship for German didactics in Austria. For a few years, it was also possible to set up a second professorship, specifically for language didactics, which was initially held by Annemarie Saxalber-Tetter.

From 2008 I became the scientific co-director of the annual Literature conferences of the Institute for Austrian Studies in St. Pölten, another institution of teacher training. (From 2014 Nicola Mitterer and Hajnalka Nagy, previously co-directors, took over the management.)

2012 became that Austrian forum for German didactics was founded, which I chaired until 2016. It sees itself as the umbrella organization for German didactics in Austria and as a networking platform. (https://www.aau.at/germanistik/fachdidaktik/oefdd/#toggle-id-1)

My own research focuses on German didactics and political education as well as literary didactics and transculturality. In my habilitation thesis I developed the concept of transcultural literature didactics (published in the two volumes Poetics of Difference and Transcultural Literature Didactics, see publications).

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