Our program expresses our priorities in several concrete ways:

  • First, equity is at the heart of everything we do. The program begins with a dedicated equity course, and all program courses are designed with equity and justice in mind, engaging students in not only talking about the issues, but also forming concrete strategies to take action.
  • Second, immersive, in-school experiences are never separated from learning on the university campus. We share meaningful, living partnerships with local school districts. These enable our students to spend time teaching in classrooms right away and throughout the school year rather than waiting for limited field experience at the end of a program. 
  • Third, we don’t cut corners with respect to preparing teachers with challenging content. There are programs out there promising quick-and-easy paths to certification, but how do their candidates fare when they encounter the real difficulty of working as a beginning teacher? Rather than promising easy strategies and superficial preparation, our Bachelor of Science and Master’s of Education programs include:
    • six different English education-specific courses addressing different aspects of English education. (This stands in contrast to programs in which the teaching of reading, literature, writing, digital media, assessment, and more are all lumped into one “methods course” near the end of a program.)
    • a full school year spent in the field in an actual classroom. (This stands in contrast to the requirement of just twelve weeks in many programs.)
    • additional courses in special education, teaching English language learners, educational inquiry, and more. 
  • Fourth, inquiry guides students as they progress through our program. Of course we teach students what we know. But for deeper learning, we also help students dig into what they want to know, through a series of experiences in which students learn to conduct research within their own classrooms as well as draw from published research to better serve students. This is in keeping with our own roles as faculty at a large research university: in addition to being teacher educators, we are scholars who not only have spent real time in K-12 classrooms but who also produce the research and critical lenses that push the field of education forward. We guide students through a yearlong inquiry project that serves as the culminating Master’s Paper/Project for the degree.
  • Finally our program is coherently linked to frameworks and standards agreed upon by our field: The NCTE/ELATE Standards for the Preparation of Teachers of Language Arts, the Penn State Framework for Teacher Education, the Penn State Values, and the PDE standards for teacher preparation.

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