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The Hamburg Institute for Teacher Training and School Development (Das Landesinstitut für Lehrerbildung und Schulentwicklung Hamburg) commissioned us to develop a Dialogue Picture to be used to support and accompany the verbal presentation of competence-focused learning. The goal was that the concept was not only orally discussed but also presented in a visual format to stimulate discussions among participants in both basic and advanced training and to illustrate the essential goals of competence-focused learning.

The Development: Competency for The National Institute for Teacher Training is laid out by using the definition developed by F.E. Weinert: they are successfully and responsibly used in diverse situations of problem solving with available persons or through learnable cognitive abilities and skills to solve identified problems and so bring together motivational, volitional and social preparedness.

Competency was defined

by specifying the following characteristics:

  • Competencies:
  • are concretely describable,
  • developments are cumulative, i.e. achieved development levels remain available later,
  • are progressively complex, i.e. are increasingly interlinked as they are acquired,
  • are learnable (and therefore acquiring them is a process that can be organized),
  • proven in situation-appropriate action,
  • describing core processes of pedagogy or general, personal, social, or learning-method skills.
Dr. Jochen Schnack
Head of the Department of Pedagogical Development National Institute for Teacher Training and School Development

„ Dialogue pictures are used in both teacher training and continuing education to generate discussion among Hamburg educators on the topic of competence-focused teaching. Our experiences have been positive: In most cases a fruitful and productive exchange of ideas is achieved quite quickly regarding the essential characteristics of competence-focused teaching and how to implement in their own schools. Unlike a text-based approach the dialogue picture method enables others to converse on difficult topics.“


In 2008 in Hamburg, approximately 8.2 percent of pupils stopped their education without earning their high school diploma; which means they run into a “wall”, because they have little chance of success in the business world. It is a central goal of all school and pedagogical reform to lower this statistic significantly.


In competence-focused teaching the teacher increasingly becomes an advisor or “coach” who provides advice on how to manage the requirements and prepare appropriate tasks. This will be exemplified with a physical education instructor who is advising a group of students playing soccer on how to score a goal.

In competence-focused teaching, the students’ activities generally increase. Thus, the pupils gradually assume the role of the teacher, communicating the content of the lesson which they have gained either alone or on a team to other classmates.