Since April 2021 the Scotland Hub at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz has been involved in an exciting new project, funded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) which will further strengthen the ties between Scotland and Rhineland-Palatine in the field of education. One of the central challenges of 21st-century classrooms is the socially and culturally diverse backgrounds of pupils, which future teachers need to understand in order to create modern and relevant learning environments.

The project LPlus (Learning Plus) sets out to equip teacher trainees with the necessary knowledge and skills to meet this challenge, forming them into open-minded, tolerant and culturally sensitive global citizens. The primary objective of the project is to establish a module within the curriculum of teacher education that involves interconnected units that, when combined, offer a comprehensive theoretical and practical engagement with intercultural and socially diverse learning. Building upon an extensive network, the project primarily enables student mobility and traineeships in cooperation with partner universities and local school councils in Scotland, thus providing future teachers from Mainz with theoretical knowledge as well as opportunities to test their knowledge in practical application in unfamiliar environments at Scottish schools. Student mobility and the experience of the new and unfamiliar will furthermore be assisted by a blended learning course, provided by the various academic experts from Mainz and partner universities.

Here, students are given the opportunity to reflect on their experience as well as deepen their theoretical knowledge of concepts of diversity and intercultural theory, including the Scottish concept GIRFEC (“Getting Right for Every Child”). The last unit of the project will involve students from Mainz and Scottish partner universities in social projects at schools in Rhineland Palatinate, which are specialized in diversity and intercultural learning. Here students will further engage with these topics by working at the schools and engaging with a diverse group of pupils, and they will also reflect on their teaching in co-operation with Scottish peers, who will bring different approaches and concepts to the projects. Ultimately, it is the goal of this multilevel project to firmly establish intercultural learning and teaching in teacher training in Rhineland Palatinate. Thereby it can be hoped that LPlus can provide a central puzzle piece for a more comprehensive strategy in the cooperation between Scotland and Rhineland-Palatinate in teacher training and education.