World Languages

The World Languages major home page.

The World Languages (WL ED) major helps candidates prepare to teach in all grades from Pre-K through 12. Candidates choose from among the following language specializations:

  • French
  • German
  • Latin
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Major Requirements

The WL ED program is a four-year undergraduate degree that requires from 133 to 136 credits, depending on which language option you choose, and leads to a bachelor of science (B.S.) in World Languages.

WL ED participates in the EDUCATE program and students use the laptops throughout course work, study abroad, and the field experiences.

WL ED students typically take general education courses, courses in their language of specialization, and meet Entrance to Major (ETM) requirements during their first two years and then apply to the program during their 4th semester.

During their fourth semester, students also usually take the WL ED 300 Foundations of Second Language Teaching, which introduces important theoretical concepts and principles that will inform the rest of their time in the program. That course also brings students in each of the language specializations together as a cohort, which they generally remain a part of throughout the rest of the program.

Review checksheets and sample semester plans for this major:

Field Experiences and Student Teaching

In their 5th semester, after having been formally admitted to the major, students participate in a supervised field experience focused on language instruction in the early grades. Student efforts are guided and supported by a course they take during that semester that is devoted to methods of teaching world languages in the elementary grades. The field experience involves establishing a curriculum with a thematic focus, developing instructional materials, and planning and implementing lessons in an after-school program for children in the elementary grades. The program is offered in cooperation with the State College Area School District and hosted at an elementary school near the University Park campus.

During their third year, students typically complete a semester abroad experience to promote their proficiency in the language they will be teaching.

During their final year in the program, students are placed in a middle or high school setting for an additional supervised field experience as well as student teaching. Placements are determined through the College's Curriculum and Instruction Field Experiences (CIFE) Office, and the field experience begins early in the fall. All placements for World Languages students are “linked” in that they transition to student teaching in the same placement during the spring semester. In this way, students gain nearly a year of experience teaching in a school setting and working closely alongside a mentor teacher and a university supervisor.

A central focus of their work in schools during their final year in the program is inquiry into teaching and learning. Through consultation with program faculty, their mentor teacher, and university supervisor, students conduct an inquiry project for which they identify a question or issue in their teaching practice that they wish to explore, collect and analyze data, and report their findings at a professional teacher inquiry conference organized near the end of the year.

Students can also choose a short-term student teaching abroad opportunity where student teachers complete 12 weeks of full-time teaching in Pennsylvania, followed by 5 to 7 weeks student teaching at an international site.

Students may also work with the CIFE in order to be placed with mentor teachers in participating school districts throughout Pennsylvania and South Dakota.

An increasing number of our students also choose to complete the requirements of the ESL certification program to gain the additional credential from the PA Department of Education to allow them to work as a specialist with English language learners.

Completing the Program

Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, students receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. For teacher certification, students must also meet all clearance and testing requirements specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In cooperation with colleagues in the various language departments in the College of Liberal Arts, we are also pleased to offer the possibility of a concurrent major with French, German, and Spanish. This allows students to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. degree) in their language of specialization as well as their B.S. degree by usually taking only a few additional credits.

Employment

Graduates have often been successful in securing teaching positions in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, much of the eastern seaboard, and nationwide. Though hiring for world languages teaching positions in elementary, middle, and high schools is competitive, WL ED graduates benefit from the excellent reputation of Penn State's teacher education programs for producing top-quality teachers school employers seek.

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