The teacher preparation program in elementary education (grades 1 through 6) prepares beginning teachers to become highly knowledgeable about subject matter and pedagogy and critically reflective, responsive, passionate, compassionate educators who are committed to meeting the learning needs of all children with diverse, cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds.
The English/Elementary Education Program fulfills the required "Subject Matter Major" portion of the curriculum for students seeking Elementary teaching certification in Connecticut (currently this qualifies the certificate holder to teach grades 1-6). Generally, students will focus on these courses and their General Education courses for about four semesters; during the fourth semester, they apply to the Professional Program in Education and, upon acceptance to the program, they focus on professional courses during their final four semesters.
Note that there is some overlap in coursework during each half of one's studies; that is, there are pre-professional courses being taken in the first two years, and most often there are a few English and/or General Education courses being taken in the last two years. The student will be assigned an advisor in the English department to help guide her/him through the first two years. Once the student is accepted into the Professional Program, he/she will also be assigned an Education advisor. The English department strongly encourages students to develop ongoing relationships with their advisors in order to have a "go-to" person whenever questions come up – and not just when it's time to register for courses!
The English/Elementary curriculum has several courses in common with the BA English major, including surveys of British, American and World literature and two advanced courses in these areas, as well as, our Introduction to Literary Studies course; and Linguistics. The other half of the curriculum comprises courses designed to strengthen students' backgrounds in areas particularly useful to prospective elementary-level teachers: an additional Linguistics course; two writing courses (students may select an expository writing, creative writing, or journalism sequence); Children's and Young Adult literature; and one course requiring Oral Performance (either Dramatic Enactment or Storytelling).
Due to the intensity of the professional training program, this overall program consists of 130 credit hours, including a student teaching semester when students are not allowed to take any other coursework. Some students who do not have a lot of outside obligations manage this in four years by taking heavy course loads in their first seven semesters and/or by taking some courses during the summers; others make it a 4 1/2 year program, with the final semester usually being the student teaching experience. While this might seem to be a lot to accomplish, students should remember that they are earning both a Bachelor's Degree and professional certification at the same time.