What were your education courses in college like?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Crono91, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2014

    I'm transferring into a University this fall (woot-woot); I'll be moving in next week! First time away from home.

    As such, I will start taking education courses, which I'm extremely excited about, because I've tried very hard to get all of my core classes out of the way (which can become slightly boring, waiting for your passion).

    I'll be taking a lot, of course, and I'm kind of curious what education courses are like. It's kind of hard to find anything online. I know every school is different, so your personal experience will be perfect.

    I don't know if I should be expecting a typical college class, where you sit, take notes, write an essay, and take your exams. Or if there will be a lot of movement. Standing in front of the class and trying to "teach" your classmates material, as if you were a teacher. Being thrust into small groups to figure things out...

    If it's the former, I wonder how that prepares one for student teaching... if it's the latter, that's going to be interesting/nerve wracking--having other aspiring teachers watch you attempt to teach them. xD

    Anyway, I'll be taking mostly Elementary Education oriented courses.

    Thanks for your time!
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My mother used to refer to education courses as "It Classes". How to teach It, how to control your classroom while teaching It. Never exactly get much into what It is unless you are working with other teaching candidates with the same subject specialty.

    Right now, I'm in a course on how to affect change in schools. Before then, it was an intense course on School Law. That being said, I'm in a graduate program. My undergrad was more educational theories and a lot of field work.
     
  4. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    I did all of my education classes online, so I probably won't be much help. However, there was one class that was a hybrid of sorts. All of the virtual students had to log in while the campus students were in the classroom. The instructor taught us all the same. For the campus students, she demonstrated how she performed guided reading, conducted daily read alouds, etc. It was a lot of lecture and note-taking because she based her tests on what she said during class, so she knew if we were listening.

    Like catnfiddle said, a lot of field work and homework that correlates with it. You'll most likely have to teach a lesson during a field assignment (or internships as my school called it), so your homework is creating that lesson plan. Also, a lot on theories!
     
  5. Kelster95

    Kelster95 Companion

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    At my university, also in VA, I didn't take very many "education" classes except for my partnership and student teaching semesters. Most of my classes were content classes and some were about teaching the subject, espicially the math classes, but most were just typical college classes teaching content. I went to the college that is most known for its education department.
     
  6. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    What does the field work entail? When I think of field work, I think of biology, and going out in the forest.

    Does education field work entail going to an actual school, and using what you learned with students? I always thought that was saved for the Student Teaching portion.
     
  7. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    ed classes = BS

    most are taught by people who have little to no exp. in classroom or their experience is from pre-NCLB
     
  8. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    It depends on the school and program, but in general there is some discussion and practicum mixed in with lectures. Most programs will set out to boost your "potential teaching technique" by means of theory and a little bit of practice, as well as making sure that you fall into line when it comes to meeting national and state standards. That, by the way, is because these schools are held "accountable" to outside institutions which dictate what teachers must know, and essentially, how they must operate.

    Most students seem overwhelmed and unprepared when they get to student teaching, which suggests that most education programs are actually not very good. Students end up having to re-learn (and learn for the first time) what it means to be a teacher in the "real world."

    I think teacher education is pretty poor in the U.S. I'm not trying to be a complete downer though, actually my main point here is that you shouldn't expect it to give you what you need. This was the biggest misconception I saw in most of my peers. Until you actually student teach and become a teacher, my best advice is to 1) observe a lot of teaching, 2) read and research a lot about ed philosophy, policy, and practice, and 3) have discussions with people who you feel might know what they are talking about (and still take those people with a grain of salt). This is how you become a good teacher, your education classes will only help so much (ranging from none to perhaps a little, maybe more if you're lucky).
     
  9. MsBilingual

    MsBilingual New Member

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    Hi! I am new to this forum and have just graduated with my BA in elementary education. My classes were great! I loved all my teachers who had a lot of experience in the classroom. My education classes were set up very differently than my "regular" classes. First they were never on my schools campus. We had a classroom at an elementary school with the district my school had a partnership with. We had class twice a week and did have readings, group work, discussed theory, and planned lessons. We then taught those lessons to a class/small group of students who we worked with all semester. So we spent at least one hour every week in a real classroom working with teachers and students.
    I loved my school and felt they really prepared us for student teaching and for the real world.
     
  10. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Goodness, that sounds like the way to do it! Sadly, I don't think mine will be anywhere like that. Haha.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My education classes were pretty much all field experience (like student teaching, but you typically only teach one subject and only for 8-12 weeks). I took a couple of intro classes freshman year where we only did something like 5 hours of field experience, but after that it was pretty much all field experience from my second semester of freshman year on. We would usually have two weeks of regular class on campus, get our placements, and then start our field experience. Once field experience started we would have class on campus on Wednesdays and field experience the other four days a week. Usually we had to do about 60-90 minutes a day at the school, and we would be completely in charge of planning and teaching one subject. I think my program was great because the majority of it was us actually getting out there and practicing teaching. Even before my official student teaching, I had experience in every grade level of my license teaching every subject, and I'd been in a variety of schools. It was also nice that we started "real teaching" freshman year so that people who realized they didn't like it could get out right away, as opposed to learning their senior year in student teaching that they didn't like it. I went to a small school, so I think that's why their model was possible. My friends who went to bigger schools pretty much only did their official student teaching senior year, because the local schools wouldn't have been able to handle all of those education students coming in. I felt extremely prepared when I started my "real" first year after graduation.
     
  12. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Interesting. xD This is what one of my English professors said.

    I'm an obsessive researcher out of anxiety. I don't like feeling unprepared. I've read many books on teacher and strategies, and I love watching videos from teaching channel, and this site provides a wealth of information.

    I kind of wish they'd just throw us into the lions den somehow, because no matter how much "research" I do, I'll always feel as if there's a chance I won't be a good teacher until I've done it.
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My teacher preparation classes were back before the internet was widely used so that should tell you something about how long ago that was. Before student teaching, we had to learn theory, prepare lessons and teach our peers and students in the rooms we were observing. We did group projects and book studies. I had the typical first year teacher anxiety but I knew how to set up my room, lesson plan and grade book, how to document student behaviors, track data, and those thousands of details that go into a successful day. I'm certainly not the same teacher I was when I walked into my own classroom for the first time, but I think I was pretty well prepared. When I stop trying to improve my teaching, it's time to get out!

    Off topic: There are a few alternatively certified teachers at my school this year and it is staggering how much they don't know. I can tell the difference between the traditionally certified newbies and those that haven't put much into their training. It should be an interesting year!
     
  14. heyitssteph

    heyitssteph Rookie

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    I am in a master's program for elementary education that is 1 year long and I happen to agree. I don't know if its the program itself or if it's just, like you said, you don't really learn how to teach until you are in the classroom doing it. My undergrad degree was not in education or anything related, so this is all brand new to me. I wish we focused more on classroom management, how to deal with parents, stuff like that but maybe that is harder to teach.... :unsure:
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My education classes were very disappointing. I didn't really seem to learn a lot about the subjects they were supposed to teach such as classroom management (we just watched a movie on inner city kids), academic language (don't even recall what it was about), ELL classes (taught us how to write a SDAIE lesson, never used it again), etc.

    My methods classes were okay. They have actually been useful. But my education classes were more hoops to jump through for credentialing in my experience. Which is one large reason why I don't want to get a masters in education. I don't want to have to do those useless classes for another year.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think you're on the right track. You need both the self-motivation to learn from books and videos and the experience to be a really successful teacher.

    You'll get your experience in due time, and I think once you do, what you're reading and learning will make a lot more sense than they do now.
     
  17. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    This was over a decade ago from me, but what I remember ...

    A few of my classes were taught by instructors who had experience in elementary (I was secondary) and though they said they would teach ideas that could be applied K-12, they rarely did. I didn't like any of those classes.

    Most of my classes were taught by instructors who had secondary experience ... almost all of them were useful.

    I remember lots of group work and lots of group projects.

    I remember lots of "here is your topic, now teach it" ...

    I remember lots of observations in different classrooms.

    And, of course, student teaching.

    My favorite course was probably a "tech in the classroom" course.
     
  18. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Field work would be similar to an internship/practicum. They may work differently in a master's program, where you would use what you're learning in the classroom. In the bachelor's elementary program at my school, we call field work internships. An elementary ed. major would have to intern in ELA, math, science, social studies, and reading. So, in one semester, you would have your ELA internship where you would be assigned a school, classroom, and mentor teacher. You need a certain number of hours in the classroom to complete the internship, and the hours only count if you're observing the subject upon which your methods course is based (e.g, only the ELA block of the classroom day during your ELA methods course). During the internship, you create one or two lesson plans and teach them. You can take on more responsibilities if your mentor is comfortable with you. I was able to work with struggling readers every week.

    The reading methods course is done outside of the classroom. It's essentially tutoring struggling readers, learning about F&P or another leveling method, using running records in the field, etc. At my school, you're required to tutor for 16 hours total and record a few of the sessions for grading.

    The final semester at my school is student teaching. Since I'm an ECSE major, I'm split with 8 weeks in elementary and 8 weeks in ECSE. Elem. ed majors are 16 weeks straight. My school only requires that student teachers take full responsibility of the classroom 50% of the student teaching experience.. I don't think that is enough. Because I'm only 8 weeks per classroom, my CT and I have already sat down and determined my schedule. I only have ONE full week where I teach the entire day before I have to slowly give up subjects to my CT.

    It's going to be different for all schools. One of the things I wish we had was a universal, more cohesive teacher education program. It would be nice if all the teachers were taught essentially the same.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    My teacher education at the university I attended as an undergraduate, was absolutely incredible. I went to a university that was filled with professors who were ex-teachers who had been outstanding as elementary teachers. I learned so much from these professors, and I am forever thankful to them.

    Many years later I made the mistake of choosing a different university for my Master's Degree. Most of the professors hadn't been in the classroom for more than a few years, and seemed much more interested in promoting their own theories and research than helping students. It was awful.

    Yes, it can really matter which University you choose when preparing to be a teacher...choose wisely.
     
  20. Pi-R-Squared

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    All my my undergrad and grad classes (ED classes) were a waste of time EXCEPT for student-teaching. You learn the most when you are in front of students teaching. However, student-teaching is a limited experience because that classroom still belonged to the cooperating teacher. Only when you get your own classroom will you realize that ED courses are a complete BS.
     
  21. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    As an undergrad, I was a music ed major up until senior year and I took the full battery of education classes. Saying they were useless to me would be an understatement up there with saying I have a mild dislike of Michelle Rhee.

    After graduating, I entered an initial El Ed/SPED cert program at the same university. In many cases, I had the same professors. The classes were approximately a million times more useful and relevant to me.
     
  22. futureteacher13

    futureteacher13 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2014

    I have been a Paraprofessional for the past 5 years! I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science with a Concentration in Education. There were several classes I took while in college (mostly education courses) that required me to create a lesson plan, a classroom management plan, and set up a classroom. Even before I began working on my BA degree, I created several lesson plans for several grade levels while in Junior college. My passion is to become an elementary school teacher and while yes even though I will have a temporary certificate in that area and will be working towards earning my professional certification, I feel that through my work as a Paraprofessional, mentoring students in reading, comprehension, and vocabulary strategies has prepared me to be in my own classroom. I have learned about documenting student behaviors, keeping track of student data, and how to deal with the things that we have NO control over. I hope I haven't stepped on anyone's toes and If I did I truly apologize!
     
  23. Moogeeg

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    I just graduated from college and am starting my first job this fall, after filling in at the same school as a long term sub at the end of last year.

    My lecture-based education classes were a hit or miss. However, depending on the instructor, some had a lot of valuable insight and experience related to the profession. In certain classes, we would also teach each other the material.

    However, much like others have said, I really do not think there is much to prepare an education student for the actual classroom except for observation and teaching in a classroom! Talk is talk, but until you actually get in front of the students and begin instructing, it is difficult to know how you will fare. I truly believe that teaching is something that is learned "on the job" so to speak.

    Also, reading blogs/articles written by experienced teachers based on what has worked for them is immensely helpful.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    My classes that were taught by active teachers were FANTASTIC! The ones taught by full time professors were abysmal.
     
  25. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    My ed courses were OK or fine I guess...nothing really stands out or is memorable. None of my professors were tremendously outstanding. I did a dual credential program & earned a multiple subjects credential & special ed mild/moderate disabilities credential.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Seems to me that education majors could be more discriminating in the college they choose. An Ed degree should not be an 'easy' pursuit. It should require research in Ed theory, a look at current trends in the field, lots of classroom observations and field experience. Professors should be seasoned Ed professionals who maintain a passion for and interest in staying informed of the changing climate of education.

    My undergrad degree was in business, but my grad program in education was superb. I can't say enough about the great preparation, education and experience we we afforded.:thumb:
     
  27. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    I had a very thorough learning experience, but I think my favorite part of my education was relaying our own K-12 experiences with teachers; what we thought worked, or didn't work, etc. We had group discussions every day, and relayed ideas. I had "real" work, too, but this practice REALLY got me thinking about how I would teach. I'm still friends with the people I was in "small group" with, and we sometimes chat about situations, or lesson plans. That was the highlight of my learning. The rest of it was kinda....something to get through, and most of it was forgotten a year or two afterwards.
     

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