Department of Inclusive Pedagogy & Special Educational Needs

Welcome to the Department of Inclusive Pedagogy & Special Educational Needs!

Department of education for inclusive pedagogy and special educational needs, with a specific research focus on language, learning, and emotional and social development

In 2009, the schooling of children and young people with special educational needs at inclusive schools became a fundamental right in all German states (Bundesländer) thanks to the ratification of the UN convention on disability rights. Accordingly, the education laws of individual states and the national legal framework for teacher education (December 2012) were amended, rendering the education of all children and young people in Germany a legal and moral obligation. These changes concerned primary schools as well as various models of secondary schools. Consequently, inclusive education is now regarded as a particular quality of instruction: it is not the communal instruction of children and young people with and without special educational needs in a single classroom, but rather a form of tailored instruction that is responsive to and supportive of every child's individual abilities. Each school must meet specific requirements to this end, for example providing an appropriate classroom space, relevant contents, and a professional and skilled teaching force.

Students are said to have special educational needs (SEN) when they are unable to follow a regular school lesson without additional pedagogic support in various areas. As such, children with SEN might experience difficulties in their learning process (SEN for learning), or they may struggle to exhibit age-appropriate behaviour or show emotionally appropriate responses in the classroom (SEN for emotional and social development). Another form of SEN (language) describes those students who struggle to communicate in an age-appropriate manner or fail to comprehend the language that is used in the classroom. These three categories or special educational needs (learning, language, and emotional and social development) concern a total of 4.2% of students (Dietze, 2012) and are thus the most common forms. However, students experiencing other kinds of difficulties might also be classed as SEN and thus require additional support in order to achieve individual learning goals and build social relationships with same aged peers. As such, children and young people diagnosed with any form of mental disability have a right to education in an inclusive school environment (SEN for mental development). Children classed anywhere on the autism spectrum, chronically ill children (SEN for ill students), as well as children and young people with severely impaired morotic development (SEN for motoric development) all have a right to pursure their education in the nearest, regular state school alongside other children and young people. Similarly children and young people with so-called sensory impariments, that is, severe visual or auditory impariments (SEN hearing and seeing), also require specific, rather intensive pedagogic support in order to learn effectively.

The University of Greifswald's teacher training programmes for regular German state schools address various relevant topics for inclusive education and SEN pedagogy for learning, language, and emotional and social development. The aim is to provide aspiring teachers with the necessary competences and moral commitment to build loving and respectful relationships with children and young people with special educational needs.

Specifically, students learn to elaborate the topic of "inclusive instruction", to identify and define the individual pedagogic foci and the history of education for children with special support requirements. The aim is for students to learn about various strategies to deliver an inclusive lesson for children with special educational needs in the areas of language, learning, and emotional and social development. This includes the following practical competences:

  • Recognizing the key characteristics of students with the three main types of SEN
  • Requesting special pedagogic support, including devising a plan for SEN pedagogic intervention
  • Practical techniques for inclusive instruction
  • In-depth knowledge of theories and models that highlight the special requirements of learning in an inclusive environment
  • Evidence-based selection of appropriate teaching materials and prevention programmes
  • Internationally validated models for inclusive teaching and learning


Head of Special Needs Pedagogy Department: Dr. Mahlau

Office: Angela Wohlfahrt

Address: Franz-Mehring-Str. 47
17487 Greifswald

Email: wohlfahrtuni-greifswaldde

Tel.: +49 3834 420 3709

Fax: +49 3834 420 3702