After completing our Master of Science in Education – Secondary Education, you will be eligible to receive a Pennsylvania teacher's certification, with reciprocity in most states, and will possess leadership experience pertinent to public or private school settings in a multitude of environments.
The 36-credit-hour program will reward graduates with both the master’s degree and the career-building certification. The certification is also available by itself in an accelerated 30-credit-hour program.
Program candidates seeking teaching certification are required to complete approved and documented field experiences in the classrooms of certified teachers prior to their own student teaching. You may choose your student teaching location at a public, private, or international school, but it is suggested that students arrange this at the beginning of the semester.
The instructor of each OATCERT course will establish the procedures and the number of hours required. In addition, participants in EDU 625/627 Theory and Practice in Secondary Teaching will deliver a mini-lesson of at least 30-40 minutes in length during their field experience. Course instructors will provide specific directions for completing written or teaching assignments related to the fieldwork.
Candidates who are not currently teaching will be responsible for securing their own placements with certified teachers in their content area. Candidates who are currently teaching may complete the field experience requirement, including the mini-lessons, in their own classrooms.
Core Courses (Required for All)
EDU 550 Historical and Contemporary Perspectives in Education
3 credits. American education is a dynamic, sometimes cyclic, process. The origins, evolution, and realities of contemporary public and private schools are examined through critical reading of original documents. Visits to elementary or secondary classrooms in multicultural setting provide a strong link to the teacher's world.
EDU 557 Adolescent Psychology
3 credits. This course introduces theoretical models of instructional design, student motivation, classroom management, and assessment at the secondary level. Attention is directed to instructional objectives; to lesson formats; to motivational strategies; to classroom discipline; to teacher attitudes and expectations; and tests and measurements. Particular attention is given to recent developments in schema theory and to constructivist models.
EDU 646 Language and Culture
3 credits. This course introduces candidates to key theories, issues, and research-based practices related to serving culturally and linguistically diverse students (PK-12), with a special focus on students who are commonly referred to as English language learners (ELLs). Candidates will explore the many dimensions of culture and language. They will also learn how to align the PA Language Proficiency Standards with the PA academic standards to plan instruction in a culturally and linguistically diverse setting. Assigned readings, class discussions, video recordings, library and online research, and a field experience in a culturally and linguistically diverse classroom will engage candidates in the course topics.
EDU 647 Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum
3 credits. The teaching of reading in various fields in middle and secondary schools will be the focus of this course. Topics examined will include reading in the school programs, problems in curricular materials, meeting individual needs, general and specific reading/study skills, critical reading, and adjustment of instruction to meet individual learning styles. Special focus on the use of audiovisual materials in the classroom is a core component of the course.
EDU 691 Secondary Teaching in Inclusive Environments
6 credits. Student or Intern teaching (or individually designed field experience) under approved supervision (including seminar meetings). This experience is designed as the capstone professional course for the certification student. The fieldwork experience approximates a full-time working/teaching experience for one full semester. At the conclusion of the experience students must have demonstrated proficiencies in instructional management, student motivation, curriculum planning, learning theory, problem solving in an educational setting, using computers in the classroom, using reading, language, and literacy skills in all classrooms, the use of audiovisual materials in the classroom, the identification of instructional resources, and the assessment of student achievement. The fieldwork course is typically the final course in a certification sequence. Students should apply to the Director of Student Teaching based on the application deadlines established by the Department. Includes a weekly seminar.
SPE 600 Foundations and Current Issues in Special Education
3 credits. This course is a critical study of the contemporary and controversial issues within the field of special education. Consideration will be given to the philosophical, psychological, and sociological basis of teacher education, including an analytical review of research-based curricula, programmatic innovations, policy issues and their effects, and ethical practices. Discussions will focus on evidence-based core concepts that contribute to effective program planning; investigation of cognitive, academic, behavioral, and psycho-social solutions and implications for those working with exceptional students; and future implications for the advancement of special education diagnostic and instructional services.
SPE 602 Diagnostic Assessment and Progress Monitoring
3 credits. This course will provide an in-depth presentation of the complex issue of assessment, including an examination of evaluation procedures, from pre-referral intervention, eligibility/placement/program decision-making to progress monitoring of scientifically based instructional interventions based on Response to Influence and Intervention (RtII). Focus will include academic, affective, work-study skill, adaptive functioning, fine motor, and environmental measures. Content coverage will consist of an overview of assessment models including traditional, informal, dynamic, performance, curriculum-based, and alternative techniques. Additional course topics will address legislation, regulations, topical issues, emerging evaluation trends, test modifications/accommodations, parent involvement, and assessment/progress reporting.
SPE 615 Teaching Adolescents in Inclusive Environments Seventh through Twelfth Grades
3 credits. The focus of this course is on the developing of skills dealing with effective inclusive classroom management and creating classroom climate conducive to student achievement. It provides comprehensive coverage of a variety of discipline models to aid candidates in building systems and conceptual models of total discipline based on their underlying theories; emphasizes activities promoting positive behavioral supports; increases pupil motivation; applies methods for establishing cooperative classroom routines, procedures, and practices; organizes the environment, including school wide, classroom, and individual supports; measures and reports progress.
This course of study will focus on the unique needs of students in grades seven through twelfth grades. Course study will include a focus on understanding how adolescent behaviors are influences by pedagogical practices and classroom environments. While general education curriculum is appropriate for the majority of students with disabilities, secondary learners who are at-risk for academic and behavioral failure, including those with disabilities, have specific learning and behavioral characteristics that can undermine progress through general education curriculum. Course content will include a careful analysis of the specific needs of intermediate and secondary aged learners, including: slower rates of acquiring information and skills, deficits in the ability to generalize learned skills to other settings or conditions, and a lack of ability to retain skills, all of which directly influence student behavior. Furthermore, course study will focus on the unique psychosocial problems of adolescents, social and interpersonal skill training priorities of young adults, classroom management and motivational strategies for adolescents, and validated learning strategies for adolescents and young adults. (NOTE: Do not take SPE 615 if you plan to take SPE 639.)
Theory and Practice Core Courses – Based on Certification (Choose 1)
EDU 625 Theory and Practice for Secondary Teaching – OATCERT
3 credits. This course studies the content and methods for teaching four PA certification disciplines: English, Mathematics, Science, and Citizenship. National, state, and local standards are examined, which students consider in relation to curriculum design and pedagogy. Backward Design, a method for developing lessons and units, provides a common organizing framework that fosters good teaching. For part of the course, students study within their own discipline, interacting with texts that discuss curriculum frameworks, the planning of lessons and units, pedagogical content knowledge, and assessment. Ten models of teaching that are applicable to all disciplines are explored in detail. As students develop units of study, they gain practice in using these models and the Backward Design method.
EDU 627 Theory and Practice in Secondary Teaching Math & Science
3 credits. This course studies the content and methods for teaching the PA certification disciplines: Mathematics, Science. National, state, and local standards are examined, which students consider in relation to curriculum design and pedagogy. Backward Design, a method for developing lessons and units, provides a common organizing framework that fosters good teaching. For part of the course, students study within their own discipline, interacting with texts that discuss curriculum frameworks, the planning of lessons and units, pedagogical content knowledge, and assessment. Ten models of teaching that are applicable to all disciplines are explored in detail. As students develop units of study, they gain practice in using these models and the Backward Design method.
Secondary Education Electives (Choose 2)
EDU 671 Writing in the Classroom
3 credits. This course introduces theories and practices of writing instruction, with a specific emphasis on writing process pedagogy. Candidates will experiment with writing across genres, and will learn how to use mentor texts, develop mini-lessons, create workshop classrooms, and develop assessment tools. Candidates will be able to concentrate on specific student populations based on their certification.
EDU 712 Topics in Language Acquisition
3 credits. The course examines the processes of language acquisition, especially the process of learning a second or additional language, from various theoretical perspectives. Emphasis will be given to the learning environments, the characteristics of interaction and participation and contexts that facilitate second language acquisition. Additionally, the course will explore linguistic factors and processes in second language acquisition (SLA) and examine the structure of learner language. Prerequisite: EDU 646
ITS 605 Technology Applications for Learning Environments
3 credits. This course will introduce students to the role that technology plays in a learning environment. Offered in an eight-week accelerated format.
SPE 630 Design and Technologies for Differentiated Instruction
3 credits. This course will provide comprehensive coverage of what is involved in the consideration, assessment, and implementation of assistive technology for students with special needs including those with specific learning disabilities found most commonly in regular and special education classrooms today. Additional topics will include current and emerging technologies used to enhance instruction for both regular and special learners; school practices related to technology integration and effective uses of technology in the general and special education classroom. Offered in an eight-week accelerated format.
NOTE: Courses are in alpha-numeric order, not necessarily the order in which they are taken, and are subject to change. Please speak with an Program Manager for a course map.
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