Curriculum and Instruction

Elementary Education - Undergraduate Program

Boy with science project

Illinois Certification

Completing the elementary education undergraduate program enables candidates to teach in kindergarten through grade eight self-contained classrooms.

To teach in specific subject areas in departmentalized middle school settings, candidates must complete additional coursework to earn one or more middle school endorsements.

Candidates in Macomb may pursue both Elementary Education and Special Education certification by completing the dual certification program.

Strengths of the Elementary Education Program

Coursework and classroom experiences are offered to prepare future teachers to

  • utilize the best practices of teaching which are emphasized in multiple science, social studies, math and reading/language arts methods courses
  • assess and document student learning in a variety of ways
  • accommodate the needs of diverse groups of students
  • work with parents and utilize community resources
  • use technology to create meaningful learning experiences
  • create effective learning environments
  • motivate students to become lifelong learners
  • reflect on their practice and engage in continuing professional development


The Elementary Education program includes extensive coursework focusing on the methods of teaching in the elementary classroom. Candidates complete four literacy methods courses that prepare them to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening. One course addresses teaching literacy in primary classrooms, while a second course focuses on teaching literacy in intermediate and middle school classrooms. A course in children’s literature prepares candidates to use literature to support all areas of the curriculum. Candidates also complete a course that prepares them to assess and provide appropriate instruction for struggling readers.

Two social studies methods courses prepare future teachers to teach students about their heritage and help them develop a global perspective. Candidates learn how to teach science in the elementary classroom and how to use inquiry as a tool for integrating the sciences. Candidates also complete two courses that prepare them to teach mathematics in elementary and middle school classrooms.

Future teachers learn how to integrate technology into their classroom instruction. Required coursework prepares them to work with students who have diverse learning needs and to work with parents, families, and the community to enhance student learning.

Field Experiences

Future teachers apply these skills as they tutor elementary/middle school students in after school programs, assisting in homework completion, reinforcing skills, and/or providing enrichment activities. They also aid in elementary classrooms, assisting the classroom teacher and working with individual or small groups of children. Candidates teach at least 30 lessons in mathematics, science, reading, language arts and social studies during a twelve-week (half days) field experience in the first semester of the senior year.

Student Teaching

Elementary Education candidates complete a twelve-week student teaching experience. 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)

Program Requirements

    1. Coursework: Majors complete a minimum of 122 semester hours.


    1. Required Assessments


    1. Grade Point Requirements
      • Pre-elementary education: cumulative GPA of 2.5 is needed to enroll in C&I 170, C&I 270 and LLA 313.
      • Elementary Education: cumulative and major GPA of 2.75 is needed for admittance and continuation in the Teacher Education Program.


    1. Criminal Background Check
      Candidates must complete an Illinois State Police and FBI background fingerprint investigation at two points:
      • Upon application to the Teacher Education Program or prior to the first field work experience, whichever comes first.
      • The semester prior to student teaching
      Additional information is available at
    2. Assessment of Professional Dispositions

      • Collaboration: Working together with others to achieve a common goal in all academic and professional settings.
      • Honesty/Integrity: Demonstrating truthfulness, professional behavior and trustworthiness.
      • Respect: Honoring, valuing and demonstrating consideration and regard for oneself and others.
      • Commitment to learning: Demonstrating a respect for and seriousness about knowledge acquisition.
      • Emotional maturity: Demonstrating situationally appropriate behavior.
      • Responsibility: Acting independently and demonstrating accountability, reliability, and sound judgment.
      • Fairness: Demonstrating commitment to meeting the education needs of all students in a caring, non-discriminatory, and equitable manner.
      • Belief that ALL students can learn: Demonstrating behaviors that support a culturally diverse educational environment that provides opportunities for all students to learn.
    3. Candidates must demonstrate the following dispositions:

Information about the assessment of dispositions can be found at