What would teachers say to students

You or you The interaction between teachers and students

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About the author

Christine Kammerer, political scientist M.A., alternative practitioner (psychotherapy), freelance journalist and trainer. Professional background: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Federal Agency for Political Education, German Child Protection Association.

by Christine Kammerer



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Up until the 1960s, it was taken for granted in Germany that people would settle in certain social contexts, including at school: Younger pupils were usually used by the teachers and only addressed with “you” from the upper level onwards. The students themselves, on the other hand, had the teachers at Siezen without exception.
Between 1960 and 1970, however, it was en vogue in certain circles to be able to speak without restriction. This trend was based primarily on anti-authoritarian currents: Left groups were of the opinion that by abolishing the "you" one could make social hierarchies flatter. Since then, the mutual Duzen has also spread in German schools.

Today there is great uncertainty: Should you do Duzen or Siezen? In many areas - including schools - a return to the formal you can be observed and there are good reasons for that.

You or you

Since the 20th century, the Basic rulethat in the first place Family members and close friends used become. Foreign adults are basically siezt, Children and adolescents up to a certain age.

In schools it is common for teachers to give their Students say goodbye, The pupils reverse seven their teacher. There are currently no binding rules for the upper school. You can find them here different approaches. Usually teachers ask their students from the 9th or 10th grade at the beginning of the school year, whether the "you" or the "she" is desired.

A general regulation for whole classes or schools, however, would be advantageous: Students aged 18 and over have the right to be addressed with you. However, it creates one unfavorable group atmosphere, when individual students are accepted, but the others are used. The salutation can vary: some teachers choose that Siezen by surname, others for the so-called "Hamburger Siezen". Here the students are addressed by their first name, but they are called.

You to the teacher?

What was completely unthinkable until recently is now at comprehensive schools common practice: schoolchildren say goodbye their teachers and call them by their first names. You promise yourself from it better relationship between teachers and students, less aggression and more openness and mutual understanding at school.

However, it is very questionablewhether these hopes are realistic, because with the "you" there is always something going on Respect for the teacher lost. This is no longer perceived so much as an authority, but rather as hierarchically equal. However, the "you" only obscures the hierarchy that is still there. The structures of a school are thereby not canceled and these are just conditionally democratic and in no way correspond to those of family or friends.

Courage to be in authority

A healthy demarcation towards the students is definitely more difficult under these circumstances and once the "you" is in the world, it is very difficult to take it back. Anyone who still decides to use the Duzen should at least have one Draw the line: The rule of thumb still applies that only the Higher hierarchy or the older one that "you" can offer. Becomes the prohibited "you" from an authority figure accepted without commentThis can be done on the part of the student as an invitation further border violations and disrespect get ranked.

Students and teachers are standing Not at the same hierarchical level. There is a clear gradient in several ways: teachers are the children and young people entrusted to them superior in life experience, at Knowledge and on Makes within the school hierarchy.

These role differences are too educational of central importance. Teachers who become pals with their students, to lose not only of credibility, but also in the ability and opportunity to assert oneself. There can be no flat social hierarchy or even leveling out here. You would be with one from the start tilt connected by the students very much quickly seen through becomes.

Respectful closeness

A “you” contains a lot more respect and courtesy than the "you" and it creates one certain distance between the people concerned. The Duzen, on the other hand, expresses closeness and familiarity. If this familiarity is not given, the Duzen can also be used as Lack of distance or even insult be perceived, especially if it is from Lower rank goes out. Too much confidentiality can also lead to too much personal flows into the classroom and this is also counterproductive.

Most students know one too respectful closeness to appreciate their teachers more in the long run than supposed companionship. The polite "you" includes categories that are particularly important at school: Appreciation and neutrality.

The illusion of one does not even arise here supposed intimacy conveyed that, in the worst case, too Situations of abuse can lead. The “you” also carries the message that the teacher is the student's personal space respected and don't want to offend him. He is called full personality recognized, the interaction takes place on one factual level instead of. At this level, too Communicates criticism better because it is perceived as less personal.

Links on the subject

“When can you say you?
“By you with the teacher
»Where teachers and students are with each other
“There must be distance

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