picture of the research group
Photo: Sophia Czapka

About us

The interdisciplinary research group Diversity and Inclusion (Forschungsgruppe Heterogenität und Inklusion - FG-HI) consists of early-stage researchers in cognitive, educational, and social sciences. The group studies the acquisition of writing and reading of children under heterogeneous conditions. The research group thereby combines the expertise of the Faculty of Human Sciences in the following fields:

    • Child Development,
    • Elementary Education,
    • Inclusion Education,
    • Linguistics,
    • Psychology,
    • Sport and Health Sciences,

    to carry out basic and applied experimental research.

    Diversity and Inclusion

    Heterogeneity is diversity, variety is colorful, exciting, inexhaustible, always different, and a great challenge.

    This includes various properties that each person contributes, in all imaginable dimensions.  Children differ in their family background, their clothing, their gender, the social status of their family, their taste in music, their cognitive, emotional, linguistic, and physical skills, their interests, their shoe sizes, the length and color of their hair ... a list that could go on forever.  Which of these factors can influence educational success, and in which form, is determined in part by society.  But which characteristics are considered relevant and which are not, and respectively which properties are seen as more "positive" versus which as more "negative" is often entirely arbitrary.

    Inclusion is a way to deal with the diversity of people, a way in which this heterogeneity should be recognized.  This means that diversity is not homogenized, but rather that such diverse properties remain while the hierarchies between these properties are dissolved.

    When, however, these diverse properties lead to systematically worse educational outcomes for certain groups of children (for example, those with migration background) when compared to others, then there is a need for action.

    We would like to know: why do some children learn faster and others slower?  What is needed to adequately support disadvantaged children?  Are the same methods equally effective for different children, or are there methods that are more effective for some children than others - and why?  How must the structure of school be changed so that teachers are in the position to design and plan lessons that reach all students' diverse needs and abilities?

    Inclusion should break down barriers between people and bring them together through combined (inclusive) learning.  Respect, tolerance, and helpfulness should be encouraged.

    The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  was a starting signal for inclusion, and we seek to help pave the way to an inclusive society in the coming decades through empirical research.


    To confront the varied challenges involved with the heterogeneity of people and the idea of inclusion, our group is also very diverse and composed of people with different backgrounds and from different disciplines (Link to contact page). Each member of our group is different and it should be so -- we complement each other with our diverse skills and focuses and cooperate to exchange these.

    Together with the professors from the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Potsdam, we develop and implement research ideas and projects across all disciplines in our area of interest.

    Our research colloquium usually takes place 1-2 times monthly. We invite scientists and practitioners from various fields, and therefore gain an overview of the research or work of the speakers, and can explore how and in which subject area we can concretely work together in our research.These dates can be followed in our News Feed.

    Through study trips we can keep in contact with other research and praxis facilities, and explore new fields of research (for example Alice Salomon Hochschule, FH Potsdam/Forscherwelt Blossin, etc.)


    We presented the following poster at the International Winter-School “Clinical Exercise Science and Sports Medicine” of the University Outpatient Clinic Potsdam in cooperation with the Tel Aviv University from November 7th to 11th 2016: “Muscle activity during writing: an EMG study in adults“ (MoBaS).


    We have published the following paper in Frontiers in Psychology: “Is Handwriting Performance Affected by the Writing Surface? Comparing Preschoolers’, Second Graders’, and Adults’ Writing Performance on a Tablet” (Project TaPir)


    We have published the following paper in Human Movement Science: "Adapting to the surface: A comparison of handwriting measures when writing on a tablet computer and on paper." (Project TaPir)


    We will be presenting the following talks at the SIG Writing Conference 2016 in Liverpool: 

    - Differential influence of monitoring and short-term memory in writing acquisition (Project RaSch)

    - Rapid Automatized Writing (RAW) predicts writing performance in dysgraphia (Project RaSch)

    - The influence of motor abilities on early handwriting (Project MoBaS)

    - The influence of the writing surface: How do preschoolers, second graders and adults write on a tablet computer compared to paper? (Project TaPir)

    Research colloquium with Prof. Michel Knigge "Multilingual development: a longitudinal perspective" 10.02.2016

    Research colloquium with Prof. Heike Wiese "The Many Sides of German: Materials for teacher training" 9.12.2015

    Our RAW- Poster won the poster price at the 9. Autumn Meeting Patholinguistics

    We will be presenting the symposium „Motor skills and writing acquisition in diverse   groups“ at GEBF 2016 (the Annual Conference of the Association of Empirical Educational Research) in Berlin.  The individual contributions are:

    - Tablet instead of blackboard or how the digitization in schools affects handwriting quality (TaPir project)

    - The association between early handwriting abilities and various motor skills (MoBaS project)

    - Handwriting and spelling in elementary school: Rapid Automatized Writing (RAW) – a new writing speed test (RaSch project)

    -The impact of motor and cognitive control on reading and writing (RaSch Project)