The Elementary Education Program prepares candidates to teach in grades 1 through 6. Completion of the program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and prepares candidates to obtain an Illinois Professional Educators License with an endorsement in Elementary Education and a Reading Teacher Endorsement. The Elementary Education Program consists of general education and professional education courses that address requirements for graduation and the State of Illinois requirements for licensure.
Elementary Education candidates will be concurrently enrolled in professional education coursework and field/practicum experiences designed to reinforce concepts and skills learned in the university classroom. The field/practicum experience blocks are designed to provide opportunities for candidates to apply course concepts in authentic environments. Required activities and assignments provide candidates with the opportunity to connect theory and practice, and prepare candidates for daily classroom responsibilities.
Elementary Education teacher candidates will observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. The Elementary Education practicum and student teaching/clinical practice experiences have been designed as a serious apprenticeship that requires teacher candidates to spend a one academic year inside schools working alongside veteran Elementary School teachers.
In an effort to better serve teacher candidates, the School of Education has implemented a Disposition Support model. The professional dispositions of candidates are a critical component of development for emerging educators. All Elementary Education candidates participate in the Disposition Awareness Workshop; the workshop highlights the components (exemplars) of each of the following dispositions:
- Fairness - the commitment demonstrated in striving to meet the educational needs of all persons in a caring, non-discriminatory and equitable manner
- Belief that all students can learn - demonstrating behaviors that are inclusive of all children: using data to make instructional decisions, differentiating instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners and demonstrating cultural responsiveness
- Collaboration – the process where two or more people work together in an intersection of common goals by jointly developing and agreeing to a set of common goals and directions; sharing responsibility for obtaining those goals; and working together to achieve those goals, using the expertise of each collaborator
- Professionalism – the commitment to maintain standards of professional conduct and demonstrate appropriate behavior
- Commitment to learning – the investment of effort in learning along with a commitment to scholarship and professional development