Candidates in programs leading to initial certification are expected to demonstrate competency in each of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards. In addition, candidates in all teacher education programs must demonstrate competency in each of the standards associated with the nationally recognized associations aligned with the areas of certification they seek.
Education Programs in the Department of Teacher Education Lead to Initial New York State Teacher Certification in the Following Areas
- Early Childhood and Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 6)
- Childhood and Middle Childhood (Grades 1-9)1
- Special Education and Childhood (Grades 1-6)
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (PreK-12)
- Middle Childhood and Adolescence Education (Grades 5-12)
- Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12)
- Special Education and Adolescence (Grades 7-12)
- Content Specific (dual certification)
- 7-12 generalist
Degree programs leading to initial certification in middle childhood are offered in English, mathematics, social studies, French, Spanish, biology and chemistry.
Program Curriculum and Requirements
All programs in education include a general education requirement, major academic concentration in a selected content area of study (related to specific teacher certification or discipline), professional education requirement, and comprehensive field experiences (including student teaching).
General Education Requirement
Bachelor degree programs in education are between 120 and 137 credit hours, depending on the program selected for study. The general education requirement is 60 credit hours and common to all bachelors degree programs at Niagara University. The general education requirement is described previously and has been designed specifically to develop the skills – critical thinking, information literacy, communications, and the ability to work effectively with diverse groups – as well as the ethics and values that will enable students to succeed and make a difference in the lives of others. Faculty will assist students in choosing general education courses that link to their field of education.
New York state requires that students in teacher preparation pursue an academic concentration of study. The College of Education provides a concentration of study in liberal arts, English, mathematics, social studies, French, Spanish, biology and chemistry. Education students are required to take a minimum of 12 courses or 36 credit hours in the academic concentration. In order to remain close to the minimum credit hours for graduation of 120, and at the same time satisfy national accreditation standards in the subject areas, students are permitted to utilize selected general education components to satisfy these additional requirements. Program and course descriptions for each academic concentration are available at the various certification areas listed above may be found in the College of Arts and Sciences sections of this catalog. For detailed descriptions of program curricula, see specific curriculum cards in the College of Education.
Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience
All candidates for teacher certification are required to participate in field experiences throughout the program. A minimum of 150 field hours are required prior to Student Teaching. Transportation is provided for students, as needed. These opportunities to observe and begin working with qualified teachers on various aspects of the teaching-learning process are aligned with coursework and include specific assignments and responsibilities.
Candidates begin pre-service field experiences in area schools as freshmen, minimally 20 hours each semester across five semesters. Pre-service field experiences are arranged through the University and the school placements are made in accordance with educational/professional coursework and the area(s) of certification that the candidate is pursuing. Candidates are expected to complete all required field experiences to be eligible for their Teaching Assistantship, establishing a comprehensive clinical experience.
During the methods phase of the program, candidates complete a Teaching Assistantship experience. This “pre-student teaching” field component of the program is integrated with required methods courses (400 level coursework) and involves two placements resulting in a minimum of 60 hours in the classroom. In the Teaching Assistantship, candidates are expected to continue to develop competencies set forth by the program standards and to have experiences with various methodological approaches as they relate to actual classroom practice and address student learning across content fields and grade-level curriculum expectations.
Student Teaching is a culminating experience that is required of all candidates for completion of the program and teacher certification. Dispositional assessments, successful completion of field experiences, a B average in methods coursework (including the academic concentration), an overall 2.5 QPA and acceptable evaluations in other assessments are required to be eligible to Student Teach. Student teachers spend a total of 14 weeks student teaching (two consecutive, full-time, seven- week placements). Generally, student teaching will take place in the final fall or spring semester before graduation. The Student Teaching Handbook outlines all candidate expectations, which include planning, teaching and assessing instructional units, aligned to the curriculum and addressing students’ needs.
Student Teaching Portfolio
A final portfolio is prepared during the student-teaching semester and represents a capstone for candidates seeking certification. The development of this portfolio provides a comprehensive synthesis of student learning, assessment, and the application of standards as a pre-service assessment during student teaching.
- Childhood and Middle Childhood, Teacher Certification (Grades 1-9)
- Early Childhood and Childhood, Teacher Certification (Birth - Grade 6)
- Special Education and Childhood, Teacher Certification (Grades 1-6)
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Teacher Certification - PreK-Grade 12