Do people really enjoy learning?

Why should learning be fun?


In the past few years, the number of publications that attempt to incorporate the concept of learning into pedagogical vocabulary has increased. While contributions from related disciplines such as learning psychology and neurobiology are taken into account in the educational science reception, this only applies to a small extent to sociological and educational sociological contributions. Societal interpretations and discourses about educational models of ideal learning have so far hardly been investigated, although their relation to practice in educational institutions is obvious.

The following article aims to provide an alternative perspective that can be relevant for an educational perspective on learning. Using the assumptions of the knowledge-sociological discourse analysis, it should be argued that a discursively formed model of ideal learning provides the actors involved in education with knowledge that is legitimized as professionally specific. Interpretation patterns contained therein are newly formed in the educational system and can function as guidelines for action in practice. They thus have two kinds of normative effect: on the one hand, as normatives, they influence the school practice of learning processes and, on the other hand, they provide positions of subjectivity through their specific form of practice. This is shown by the article based on the analysis of the discourse on “enjoying learning”.


The last years have seen a rise in the number of publications which promote a pedagogic view on the idea of ​​learning (cf. Stepesser 2012). In contrast to arguments of the psychology of learning and neurosciences, there has been little reception of sociological arguments within the pedagogic discourse so far. Despite the self-evident relevance for pedagogic actions, little attentions has been paid to discourses of guiding conceptions of ideal learning and the dominant interpretative schemes within them.

This paper emphasizes the relevance of sociological arguments for a pedagogic perspective on learning processes. Following assumptions of the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse, it argues that discourses produce legitimate knowledge about ideal forms of learning. The dispositif deriving from this knowledge provides actors with frameworks of interpretation and structures learning processes in pedagogic institutions. It also offers positions of subjectivity. The knowledge itself commands a guiding function for stakeholders by certain implied interpretations on ideal learning. It shall be concluded that discourses in society have two effects of normalizing the discursive field, by on the one hand shaping current forms of learning in pedagogic institutions and on the other hand transmitting certain forms of subjectivity to stakeholders. An analysis of the discourse on “making learning fun” in Austria illustrates this argument.

Discourse theory and school learning

The topic of learning has recently attracted increasing attention in educational discussions, although (educational) sociological contributions to questions of school learning have so far received little attention. The following article would like to take up this perspective and draw on the approach of the subject-scientific learning theory (cf. Holzkamp 1992, 1993; Ludwig 2005). Following Holzkamp's distinction between expansive and defensive learning, the focus there is on school structures and procedures that influence the character of learning processes. Learning represents "represent an individual-cognitive condition for education"(Ludwig 2005, p. 329), while the subject"also a product of social structures, entangled in them and subjected to them“(Grotlüschen 2014, p. 231) is. The learning subject of the school is in this contradicting relationship, and although it can find spaces for self-determined learning, it is subject to numerous norms due to the societal desire for administrative planning of learning processes.

The question of which principles or interpretation patterns can be relevant in the constitution of school learning processes is addressed rather superficially in subject-scientific learning theory. Holzkamp (1992, p. 14) states that the school "the type of lesson organization [...] permanently hampers and disturbs any own, factual expansive learning efforts of the pupils“, And mentions organizational elements as such, for example, the 45-minute cycle, notions of school discipline or the repetitive nature of exams. Holzkamp, ​​in turn, attributes these elements to the necessity of administrative planning and verifiability of learning processes, which he considers (in terms of educational sociology) to be a consequence of the qualification and allocation function of schools.

Developments in teaching, such as the increase in open teaching forms (cf. Brügelmann 2008), however, reveal a weak point in this structural-functionalist argumentation: Current teaching forms often manage and offer without fixed time structures, with (apparently) flatter hierarchies (keyword: teacher as coach) Pupils more design options; this should imply that the school (interpreted in the sense of Holzkamp) increasingly enable expansive learning endeavors that "administrative planning“Of school-based learning would decline, learning processes would be less comparable, students would have to be more free in their design - but all of that seems questionable. Last but not least, Patzner (2007) and Gruschka (2011) point out that the intention behind these developments is actually not primarily an increase in autonomy and self-determined educational processes in the classroom. This leads to the consideration of considering the open question of genesis, strategic intentions and possible consequences behind the changes in school forms of practice from a discourse-analytical perspective.

A discourse-theoretical approach, however, makes it possible to analyze principles and interpretive patterns behind school learning processes that generally exist in the context of an educational policy and school pedagogical discourse about a new model of school and teaching and are manifested in statements. The contribution pursues the goal of a reconstruction and criticism of these interpretations and therefore describes school learning as one discursively formed social practice. In the discursive discussion it is determined what is considered to be effective procedures and methods of learning, desirable goals, necessary conditions (such as “fun” or “freedom”), structural requirements in institutions (such as “individualization”) and much more. m. apply. Discourses set limits to the actions of individuals; they define what can and cannot be legitimately said and done. In contrast to the subject-scientific theory, the aim is not to claim to formulate knowledge on the level of individual, concrete learning processes. Nevertheless, it is argued that the relationship between the discourse and the field of practice, school, has an impact on the level of individual learning, for three reasons:

  • Discourses produce knowledge about an object. The institutionalization of this knowledge in dispositifs leads to the transmission and legitimation of specific modes of action. The educational dispositive intervenes on the basis of the discursively generated knowledge in a regulating manner in school practice - regulatively, for example through curricula, circulars, ordinances, guidance through further and training programs, funding of projects, discursively through knowledge production and distribution in related institutions or publication organs. This contribution focuses on these interventions, whereby the educational dispositive consists of an ordering formation of various official-ministerial, educational, political and civil society institutions and bodies, whose actors take up a discourse position from their networking with one another, which makes it possible to produce and produce knowledge position as legitimate knowledge.

  • Guiding principles of ideal pedagogical action are formed discursively on the basis of knowledge specific to the profession, which at the same time creates images of the professional actor, i.e. H. a professional identity (as a teacher or student) are constituted: “Discourses generate 'know how' in the sense of the more or less far-reaching instrumental ability to act with regard to the respective phenomena. You are in turn involved in the creation of (area-specific acting) social actors " (Keller 2011, p. 237). As a constitutive reference norm for the professional behavior of actors, knowledge gains a dimension that guides action: on the one hand, from a governmental perspective, namely as a measure of autonomous optimization efforts, on the other hand, as mechanisms of exclusion are connected with constructions of professional identity, through invocation as a professional subject (“a real teacher would not do something like that ”) or legal sanctions (eg for teachers under professional or professional law; for pupils in house or examination regulations; cf. Laclau and Mouffe 2001).

  • Referring to Alfred Schütz, Keller emphasizes (2008, p. 78) "The social genesis or 'construction' of the interpretive schemes that are used in consciousness processes and only transform a simple, sensual 'experience' into a reflected, meaningful 'experience'." In school, discursive and non-discursive practices guide processes of subjectification by providing a specific repertoire of interpretation on the basis of which individual structures of meaning and interpretation arise.

The last point indicates that the discourse concept of the knowledge-sociological discourse analysis (short: WDA) also has a material, practical dimension and thus a distinction between discursive and non-discursive practices can usually not be clearly made. In this way, the concept of discourse gains attractiveness for questions that directly relate to fields of practice: It combines the sociological question of order structures and rules of social fields with discourse theoretical considerations of their genealogy and effect. In the course of school socialization, attitudes, norms and values ​​are adopted; From a discourse-theoretical perspective, this (see above) is conceived as an institutional guide to practices and positions of subjectivity.Footnote 1 The question of models of ideal learning thus also asks which anthropological and social goals and values ​​are the basis of an interpretation model, i. H. how a content-related interpretation was generated via a discursive course. and how these immanent norms, ideologies and worldviews are conveyed through the organization of learning arrangements.

This contribution reconstructs the process of the emergence and reorganization of the statement "learning should be fun" via the authority of the dispositive. Keller (2011, p. 253) describes dispositives as “Infrastructure of discourse production and problem processing ", which are generated by influential discourses themselves and intervene in practice to regulate them through the discourses. Foucault describes dispositives as a “network” between the heterogeneous elements of discourses, fields of practice and actors, between discursive and non-discursive practices. Accordingly, dispositions can be recognized as a correlate of their effect (cf. Traue 2015). In accordance with the material version of the term discourse, Keller (2008, p. 101) emphasizes for analytical practice that "Discourse and dispositive perspective can hardly be separated from one another". Within a dispositive, processes of scarcity, re-formation and transformation of discursive utterances can be identified; d. H. In the dispositive, too, new discursive formations are generated from various statements about learning; like discourses, dispositives are contested territory. The rule systems of a dispositive are decisive for when utterances appear in certain places and what position utterances occupy in the dispositive. At the same time, they are forms of reflection on social power relations.

The concept of the interpretation pattern functions as a probing concept of the analysis. Interpretation patterns each represent a specific part of the collective store of knowledge, which at the same time refers to the social, cultural and economic level of society and is interwoven with it (Keller 2008). The assumption here is that the scope of the content of interpretation patterns goes beyond the actual object. Interpretation patterns of ideal learning not only exert an influence on learning settings, but at the same time generate part of everyday school life, the order and rules of which can influence other contexts. Your own everyday pragmatic interpretations and structuring of meaning can thus be stabilized by means of these interpretation patterns. In an adaptation of the actor concept of the WDA, interpretation patterns in the dispositive are to be determined in this contribution by tracing the original origin of certain forms of expression from actor coalitions in the discourse, i.e. H. concise statements of the dispositive and their meaning can be reconstructed from the original statements. The analysis can be referred to as an interpretation pattern analysis (cf. in particular Keller 2014). The methodical approach of the analysis consists in the determination of typical forms of statements, which result in a continuously occurring pattern of interpretive elements, of which it can be reasonably assumed that they can be used as a structuring interpretation scheme for the interpretation of field-specific conditions and modalities of ideal learning. In the analysis, three such typical forms of expression were identified, each with a specific element of interpretation. In sum, these elements result in a figure of interpretation, an offer of how the statement "learning should be fun" is to be interpreted. According to Keller, the added value is that the interpretation pattern analysis is a “'Bridging concept' [represents], which just allows one to walk the path from the discourse level to everyday interpretation and life practice or to take a look at the entanglements, adaptations, appropriations and rejections in the use of interpretation patterns here and there” (Keller 2014, p. 155).

With these considerations, the WDA implicitly ties in with the ideology-critical considerations of Gramsci, who recognizes a place in educational institutions where a hegemonic way of life and cultural practice are established through everyday but ideologically shaped interactions (Merkens 2002). This article argues in favor of a convergence of these approaches and not only wants to describe patterns of interpretation, but also to meet them critically from a pedagogical perspective. The point of view of this contribution can be described in such a way that it recognizes the gain of autonomy and the ability to reflect as goals of education (in the sense of critical pedagogy) (cf. Gruschka 1988; Sünker 2012). Barrett (quoted in Keller 2011, p. 159) describes the function of ideology as a mystification of social realities: “discursive and significant mechanisms that may occlude, legitimate, naturalize or universalize in a variety of different ways but can all be said to mystify ". For learning processes, this means that they can be regarded as ideologically structured if they naturalize their constitutional conditions and make their knowledge and reflection more difficult, while conveying norms, values ​​and attitudes that can be described as functional in the sense of dominant social structures and legitimize them.

The following investigation focuses on documents of the educational dispositiv. This includes documents of direct regulation - curricula, circulars, ordinances - but also scientific documents, documents from training and further education, project reports, public statements, provided that there is a close relationship to the dispositive. In the course of the analysis, a total of 233 such documents were viewed and evaluated. The following evaluation relates to the statement "Joy in learning", one of a total of three central strands of discourse that I analyzed in the dissertation (Brandmayr 1026).

For the discursive formation of the statement "fun in learning"

Viewed from a general perspective, the demand for fun (or joyFootnote 2) is a matter of course in learning in discourse today, but it is relatively new from a historical perspective. In publications from the 1970s and 1980s, school is often described as a compulsory institution. It is noted that learning could in principle be fun, but that this is not conceivable in the context of school. In educational policy demands of this time, the demand for joy and fun hardly appears. In the party program of the Social Democratic Party (1978, p. 32) of Austria at that time, it is noted: "Every child [...] has the right to an upbringing without corporal punishment, to a place to play, to a humane, healthy environment and to a humane school." The term “humane school” not only implies that the school of the 1970s was not humane in many cases, but that the party would have been satisfied with a “humane school” and a school that made its students happy , was not required at all.

At the beginning of the 1990s, more and more actors expressed from different perspectives that learning should be fun. In the meantime, this statement has a hegemonic position in the educational disposition and accordingly has an impact on school practice. In the following, three elements of the interpretation of the statement will be outlined.

Enjoyment of learning as a functional element in the learning process

This interpretation element is based on the anthropological premise of a naturally existing joy in learning. In the text of the expert commission on the redesign of the school system, the desire to learn is described as a child-youthful thirst for knowledge, accompanied by joy: "Childlike and adolescent thirst for knowledge, thirst for knowledge, the joy of learning are the basis and motor for learning, education and development - schools see their responsibility to maintain, use and promote these " (Expert Commission 2007, p. 10).

This interpretation element is strongly related to statements of neurodidactic actors who interpret joy in learning as a functional element in the learning process. Neurodidactists emphasize that children feel joy when they learn successfully, which they try to prove by the release of messenger substances in the brain: “Under these conditions, a group of nerve cells in the brain is always excited and releases [...] certain messenger substances that are also released when drug addicts take cocaine and heroin. This gives an idea of ​​how great this feeling of pleasure can become that children feel when they [...] set off to discover the world“(Hüther 2006, p. 74). School criticism, as expressed by neurodidactic actors, particularly of repetitive forms of learning and school disciplinary measures, is based essentially on an interpretation pattern that understands the pleasure of learning as a way to increase the efficiency of learning processes and (at the same time) as these conditions in school detects not present. A typical form of statement is accordingly that learning should be designed to be “brain-friendly”.

The analysis shows that the dispositive has adopted this interpretation. In the national education report, for example, the strengthening of reading pleasure is named as a measure for better reading skills; the term is found eight times. The following is noted as a typical statement: “On the motivational side, you will also try to convey joy in reading, which can be done, for example, by 'reading' books or by visiting the library with the whole class“(Schabmann et al. 2012, p. 39). The connection between better reading ability and enjoyment of reading is recognized as a fact and not explained in more detail, as is the target dimension of school learning, which Foucault (1994, p. 199) describes as “exhaustive exploitation“Of cognitive resources can be formulated, is not explicit or justified. In the dispositive, however, joy is given the status of a functional element through which learning processes can be designed more efficiently, and is to be clearly positioned discursively in this pattern of interpretation.

Another facet of the connection between joy and efficiency is revealed by the following discourse fragment from the COOL project funded by the BMBF: “Cooperative open learning offers pupils the opportunity to bring all their intellectual and emotional abilities, their various talents, their creativity, their curiosity, their enthusiasm to play and their social skills to the class. Pupils work more during the COOL phases than in traditional classes[...]. Because the initiative comes from them. While the students are working, the teachers can consciously devote themselves to the students who need support because they are gifted or have certain deficits " (Impulse Center for Cooperative Learning 2008, p. 16; emphasis M.B.). Directly after the statement that the joy of playing and social skills will increase as a result of the COOL project, the efficiency of the project and its compatibility with other strategic goals of the learning disposition are pointed out. This is explosive against the background that the COOL project is located in the theoretical framework of reform-pedagogical approaches (Freinet and Parkhust). Actors who took part in discussions about school reform and called for changes to the forms of instruction in the sense of reform pedagogical or social democratic approaches (work instruction) mostly expressed themselves critically against an orientation of the school towards the achievement principle; they advocated joy in learning, but without pursuing further goals (see also point b). A typical statement of this discourse coalition was that too strong an orientation towards efficiency cannot be reconciled with a model of progressive teaching (with goals such as freedom, democratization, and also the joy of learning), but rather causes immaturity and subordination (cf. Beck 1974). A moment of discursive scarcity can therefore be ascertained, as a result of which an original contradiction in the interpretation of ideal learning modalities is no longer recognizable.Footnote 3 In many places, however, these projects offer identification opportunities for actors of the politically left-wing discourse coalition, who use quite similar formulations, although in this interpretation joy should not primarily contribute to humanization, but to increasing the efficiency of teaching.

Joy in learning as joy in performance

The requirement to enjoy learning with regard to performance assessment is of particular importance. For as the former Austrian Minister of Education Claudia Schmidt (2008, p. 14) put it quite openly, the learning disposition is striving for an increasing performance orientation: "My dream school is a high-performance school that focuses more on talents and talents. " To combine this with the joy of learning, Benischek and Beer (2011, p. 19) formulate: "The postulation of a productive concept of performance from a performance burden to the joy of individually rendered performance is of central importance". How is this link made?

Reform pedagogical and social democratic concepts interpret voluntarily provided learning products, which can be produced without pressure of time or grades, as an opportunity to perform joyfully. These concepts were formulated in strict opposition to the school practice of conventional examination situations, because "how can learning be fun when the fear of the exam is constantly on the back of the neck? " (Kössmeier 2007, p. 3). On the one hand, your goal should be to ensure conditions for joyful and emancipative learning and to accompany learning processes without pressure; on the other hand, learning in this interpretation was tied to goals of autonomy and freedom. Learning achievements were seen as documentation of individual progress, with the opportunity to recognize oneself in one's own work and to grow in it. The idea that work is understood as the realization or expression of the human personality can be traced back to social democratic school actors as far as Marx's (1968, p. 517) early theory of alienation, which is the product of industrial working conditions, as alienated work Juxtaposes the concept of fulfilling work, in which the worker "not only intellectually as in consciousness, but at work, really doubled, and therefore looks at himself in a world he has created " d. H. only becomes human. It can be found again in the concept of work lessons as well as in action-oriented approaches, e.g. B. that of Dewey, who interprets manual work as an opportunity to gain autonomy.

A coalition of actors arguing from the point of view of educational economics represents an interpretation of ideal learning that sees learning achievements as always simultaneously subjective and economically significant. A premise is typically formulated as follows: “Education is development and therefore an opportunity for every person [...]. Education thus leads to personal happiness, social prosperity and yourself.“(Monika Kircher-Kohl, quoted from: Industrial Association 2009, p. 11). The social determination of learning goals takes a back seat to the subjective relevance, because the subject is at the same time responsible for the material security of his existence. If that instruction is required “The principles of self-control and personal responsibility are the basis“(Industrial Association 2014, p. 16), then also because individuals have to decide for themselves about the relevance of content with regard to their future advancement. This interpretation abstracts the social demand to learn and to achieve; they are defined by their subjective success.

In the learning disposition, the concept of achievement is redefined from the entanglement of these positions. A typical statement on this can be found in the guidelines on school quality, general education: "Last but not least: performance. Performance is required, is important and strengthens self-esteem ('It was hard work, but I did it!') And increases the willingness to face new challenges, which leads to a renewed increase in knowledge and skills. Positive learning results and achieved goals set a spiral of motivation in motion, they can literally inspire us. Achievement and enjoyment of learning are therefore not a contradiction in terms, on the contrary! " (BMBF 2012a, p. 3). Here an interpretation can be traced, according to which joy in learning is to be understood as joy in performance, in the sense of joy in the concrete product. It should be done voluntarily and self-determined to a certain extent. The term is neither reduced to school-based performance nor used as a focused learning product, but refers to all forms of productive activities in school. Learning products materialize as a concrete product beyond a social standard, which has to be considered a successful learning outcome. As a subjective product, every measurable, materialized learning achievement can be perceived as potentially joyful.

Possible negative effects of the achievement principle, such as pressure to perform, competition between learners, the confrontation with expectations and the compulsion to generate visible output from learning activities, remain; but in this interpretation of achievement they are discursively separated from the social achievement principle. A reference to forms of subjectivity that can arise as side effects of performance thinking - for example, competitive thinking or a lower willingness to act in solidarity - can no longer establish itself in a discursive relationship to the interpretation of performance in the dispositive, which culminates in the statement that "Documented individual performance successes [...] the joy of performing all children [increase]" (Benischek and Beer 2011, p. 19). By emphasizing individual motivation to perform, the educational disposition has discursively narrowed the social dimension of performance and willingness to perform (and thus social democratic objections) without curtailing the (economically highly relevant) character of the measurability and output orientation of learning achievements. The achievement of learning achievements takes place on individual request in an individual framework; the invisibility of the normative request makes it possible to enjoy performance-oriented learning in school.

Joy as a learning goal

Statements that formulate joy as a learning object and learning goal almost exclusively refer to elements of interpretation in terms of educational economics. On the one hand, there is an argument that considers further training measures to be necessary in today's economy and in which, in the context of an assumption of functionality (see interpretation pattern a), a narrowing of the terms joy in learning, success and the progression of professional biographies shows: “The joy of learning (in school) should grow, because if you want to shape your life successfully, you have to be able to learn and want to (Müller 2006, p. 7). The necessity of this requirement is also shown in the fact that only a fraction of today's forty-year-olds are active in their learned professions, new fields of work are added and familiar ones disappear " (Benischek and Beer 2011, p. 5).

A second interpretation element establishes joy in learning in the sense of a cognitive capitalism, in which personality traits represent a resource. This interpretation element can be traced back to the beginnings of the discourse on lifelong learning in England (cf. Landry and Bianchini 1995). Contributions by Peter Hartz, who reformed the labor market in Germany and linked social benefits to qualification measures, have a lasting discursive effect in German-speaking countries. In the new economy, Hartz writes (quoted from Haug 2003, p. 608) “the whole person is asked to learn, to discover, to develop and to pass on something with his individual possibilities, his openness, his talent and his passion. Long live the creative difference. We leave Taylorism behind. " For the workplaces of tomorrow, cognitive resources such as creativity, competencies and soft skills, but also emotional dispositions that lead to a new identification with the job, will be important. These increased requirements mean that education systems now have to focus on the “whole person”.

The influence of this discourse on economics of education can be determined in the dispositive, for example, by the fact that personal standards of lifestyle are important as subjects of learning. The policy paper on the expansion of vocational orientation and educational counseling in schools shows an interpretation that understands (vocational) learning as a further training and qualification measure for the whole person: “Career orientation means life orientation and is therefore to be understood as a process that starts early and goes beyond school. The current situation in the world of work, with rapidly changing qualification requirements and job profiles, and the expected further acceleration of these developments in the future, require constant training and repeated reorientation. Accordingly, the creation of a lifelong system of information, advice and orientation (lifelong guidance) is seen as an important common European educational policy objective " (BMUKK 2010, p. 1). The term “lifelong guidance” is meaningful here, as it marks the institutional interest in the control of personal orientations. It describes an interpretation according to which specific qualification measures go hand in hand with reorientation or reorientation of aspects of lifestyle to strategic goals of the market.

In an interview, Claudia Schmidt (2008, p. 14) comments on the question of which skills should be strengthened in school from an economic point of view: “The school is increasingly assuming the role of a living space that must be a preparation for future living spaces. We need people with qualities. " The requirement, "properties" with regard to later, i. H. Developing economic contexts can be interpreted for school practice as the control of subjectification processes in order to achieve a convergence between the development of personality traits and their needs in modern capitalism. If the goal is to induce joy in learning, joy in learning is achieved when identification with new target dimensions of lifestyle, that is, a new "life orientation" in the process of school or further education is complete. Joy itself becomes the subject of reorientation: the school institution has an interpretation of what joy is, when joy can be felt, and aims to convey this interpretation. Feeling joy in the “right” contexts can therefore be one of those qualities that “one needs”.

This interpretation underlines the following discourse fragment entitled "School prepares you for a happy life". It says: “Investing in quality education and training and promoting resilience and emotional intelligence enables people to lead healthy and productive lives. Therefore, educators at good schools are aware of their responsibility, what and how they contribute to ensuring that young people can lead a happy life " (ZLS 2015, p. 8). The formulation that “resilience and emotional intelligence” enable a “happy and productive life” already refers to some aspects of an institutional interpretation of the lifestyle that leads to joy.School becomes a living space in which experiences are made that force the adoption of specific attitudes. Emotional references such as joy are subject to the norm of current lifestyle; the institution shapes its character and relates it to specific requirements, specifically economic capacity to act.


These considerations carried out so far are intended to show how social discourses about models of ideal learning influence the practice of school learning processes. The example of the statement “Enjoyment of learning” clearly shows that there are processes of scarcity and re-formation in the dispositive, whereby the statement is alienated in terms of content, but also naturalized. It offers itself as a point of identification for various actors, although its meaning has changed with regard to its original use in the context of specific groups of actors. As an alienated statement, it conveys norms, values ​​and attitudes of the dispositive, the content of which can only be determined through this analysis. It should also be discussed whether and, if so, how the statement has an ideological function in school practice - a question that must remain open here.

The added value of the analysis is that a discursive view of learning can contribute to the discussion of the principles and rules according to which school learning is actually organized. It can provide food for thought in order to establish a new perspective in the discussion about an educational concept of learning, which is based on an empirical level. In this perspective, questions about the “secret curriculum” (Zinnecker 1975) or the social function of schools can also be asked anew.


  1. 1.

    Although this is controversial, Keller (2012, p. 72) argues that these conceptual concepts are very similar; this line of argument should be followed here.

  2. 2.

    In this article, as in the discourse, the terms fun and joy are used synonymously.

  3. 3.

    This statement can also be found in the KLIBO project, for example: This also intends a motivating, activating and joyful teaching through individualization and open forms of learning, but at the same time argues with efficiency and better learning success (cf. BMBF 2012b).


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Author information


  1. School of Education, Institute for Teacher Education and School Research, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52d, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria

    Mag. Michael Brandmayr

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mag. Michael Brandmayr.

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