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Current Undergraduate Students

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers four programs that lead to teacher certification in Illinois.

Completing the Elementary Education Program enables candidates to teach in kindergarten through grade eight self-contained classrooms.

Completing the Early Childhood Education Program enables candidates to work and teach in programs and classrooms for children from birth through third grade. Candidates completing all required coursework earn the Early Childhood Special Educational Approval, which allows them to teach in early childhood special education non-categorical settings for children up to the age of 6.

Candidates completing the Special Education Program will qualify for certification as a Learning Behavior Specialist I, enabling them to teach exceptional children K-age 21.

Completing Special Education/Elementary Education - Dual Program enables candidates to teach in both Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education K-8 settings.

Graduations Program Accreditation

Our programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Early childhood program is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Elementary Education program is recognized by the Association for Childhood Education International. State and national professional organization standards provide the foundation for the curriculum, field experiences, and student teaching experiences in both programs.

Program Goals

We prepare teachers to meet the highest standards in teaching. Candidates graduating from the elementary education or early childhood program are empowered teachers who are, in turn, able to empower all learners in their classrooms.

 

 

Through coursework and a variety of teaching experiences, we prepare teachers who

  1. Know the content they teach and are able to make this content meaningful for all students.
  2. Understand the unique needs and characteristics of individual learners.
  3. Use research-based best practices in their teaching to promote the growth, development, learning and empowerment of all learners representing our diverse society.
  4. Use research-based principles to plan effective instruction, integrate technology in instruction, assess student learning, and create and maintain positive, safe learning communities.
  5. Use professional dispositions, including those that promote fairness and reflect the belief that all individuals can be empowered to learn, to positively impact student learning.
  6. Reflect upon and are committed to the continual improvement of their teaching.

Program Faculty

Courses in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction are taught by full-time faculty, most of whom have doctorates or terminal degrees in their field. Our faculty have taught in a variety of public and private school settings and have been recognized for their teaching excellence and the use of technology in teaching. They are active in the profession at the international, national, state, and local levels.

The faculty are committed to helping candidates develop into skilled, competent, and creative teachers. The individual assistance that professors provide ensures this goal is achieved. Students are encouraged to communicate frequently with their professors through office visits, e-mail, and phone calls.

Program Coursework

A strength of both the elementary and early childhood education programs is the number of courses candidates complete that prepare them to teach in their future classrooms.

Elementary Education majors complete four literacy methods courses, two science methods courses, two social studies methods courses, and two math methods courses.

Early Childhood Education majors take specific courses to prepare them to teach in preprimary and primary classrooms.

Field Experience

Elementary Education and Early Childhood majors complete observations during the sophomore year of their program. During the junior year, candidates tutor students and provide assistance in local classrooms. In preparation for student teaching, candidates teach half days for at least twelve weeks during the first semester of the senior year.

Student Teaching

Student teaching can be completed in the following regions:

  • REGION A Chicago Suburbs (North, West and South) 
  • REGION B Chicago Public Schools (City of Chicago)
  • REGION C Quad Cities (including Bettendorf/Davenport, IA)
  • REGION D Western/Central Illinois (Quincy, Peoria, Macomb)

Honors Program

We encourage eligible prospective majors to participate in an honors program designed to provide the exceptional and motivated candidate with additional opportunities for individualized educational experiences. Experiences in the program include the following:

Candidates complete research-oriented projects within required department courses and participate in seminar discussions on current issues with faculty and fellow honors students.

To qualify for departmental honors, candidates must complete requirements for the Illinois Centennial Honors College at Western and the specific requirements for elementary/early childhood education majors. For more information about the Honors program, visit the University website at http://www.wiu.edu/Honors/.

Advising

Candidates enrolled in our undergraduate programs are provided academic advising through the Center for the Preparation of Educational Professionals. The elementary and early childhood education advisors work closely with the department chair and faculty and assist individual candidates with registration, academic planning, and meeting graduation and certification requirements. http://www.wiu.edu/cpep/undergraduate-advising.html