Preparation for initial certification to teach in the state of Michigan is at the heart of undergraduate study in the SOE. Undergraduate students aspiring to teach at the elementary level earn both their bachelor's degree and the recommendation for state certification within the SOE. Undergraduate students seeking secondary certification earn their bachelor's degree from the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, while completing professional coursework in the SOE leading to recommendation for certification. Students who already have obtained a bachelor's degree can pursue certification in the SOE in various ways. Specifically post-baccalaureate "certification-only" tracks for elementary (COE) and secondary (COS) are available. In addition a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) graduate program comprises another option for students seeking secondary certification. Please visit SOE's teacher preparation programs on the Academic Programs page
The faculty of the School of Education has adopted Teaching for Understanding (TfU) as a core element of its approach to educating future teachers. In accord with decades of psychological research on human learning, TfU posits that knowledge is constructed -- as learners assimilate and interpret new information in relation to prior knowledge and experience and thus create their own knowledge and meaning -- rather than simply copied and reproduced. To facilitate meaningful learning TfU includes a variety of approaches to discourse and social interaction, creating classrooms in which:
- students and teachers acquire and construct knowledge collaboratively
- orthodoxies of pedagogy and "facts" are continually challenged
- conceptual understanding of subject matter is the goal
- teachers function as guides, coaches and facilitators by posing questions, challenging thinking and leading in the examination of ideas and relationships between concepts and experience.
Using the TfU approach, courses in the School of Education promote active student learning and the construction and development of knowledge through lectures, readings, small and large group discussions, small group activities and projects that require the application of knowledge. SOE also promotes field-based learning through practicum placements in the certification programs. Through practica and other field experiences, candidates are encouraged to cross boundaries of race and class in order to have experiences that differ from their own and challenge their preconceptions about people from non-dominant groups, who speak different languages, and who have different experiences. We strive to place candidates throughout the metropolitan area in districts that represent the full range of diversity in socio-economic and racial/ethnic backgrounds.
Quality teacher education demands not only a rigorous foundation in educational methods and studies, but significant acumen in candidates' target content areas as well. In view of the need for strong and well coordinated means of responding to these goals, the Teacher Preparation Council (TPC) was established by the dean of the School of Education with the support of the dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. The group draws together key faculty and staff from both academic units. The Council meets twice per term to consider issues relevant to the common undertaking of the participating colleges regarding the preparation of future teachers.
The TPC enables sustained and meaningful interaction that between faculty of education and faculty of content area specialties is responsive to professional standards promulgated by the Michigan Department of Education. Specifically, in applicable teacher certification and endorsement programs, the TPC concentrates on refinements to instruction in response to state Grade Level Content Expectations, High School Content Expectations and Common Core State Academic Standards.