Elementary Education Cert. Program Summary


PROGRAM SUMMARY – October 29, 2010 

Goals of the NMU Teacher Education Program 

The mission of the NMU Teacher Education Program is to provide candidates a challenging, relevant and rewarding experience that will allow candidates to acquire professional competence.

The goals to achieve this mission are as follows:

  • Understand the role and operation of the school;
  • Respect and work effectively with students of varying backgrounds and cultures;
  • Assume the various responsibilities of the classroom teacher;
  • Plan instruction and learning experiences that recognize the individual needs and differences of students;
  • Organize and manage the classroom environment to maximize learning;
  • Manage classroom interactions and student conduct to create a positive climate for learning;
  • Identify and use appropriate instructional techniques, media and methods;
  • Evaluate learning to determine the extent to which instructional objectives are achieved by students;
  • Establish positive and effective communication with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members;
  • Accept and assume the responsibilities associated with being a competent professional and lifelong learner; and,
  • Practice being a reflective teacher.

Conceptual Framework for NMU Teacher Education: Philosophy, Rationale and Objectives 

During the Fall of 2006 and Winter of 2007 Northern Michigan University Teacher Education faculty reviewed, revised, and readopted the April 2000 Conceptual Framework presented in full here. Below, we provide an overview of our conceptual framework which begins with a definition of education. Israel Scheffler (1976) offered the following:

[Education is] the formation of habits of judgment and the development of character, the elevation of standards, the facilitation of understanding, the development of taste and discrimination, the stimulation of curiosity and wondering, the fostering of style and a sense of beauty, the growth of a thirst for new ideas and vision of the yet unknown (p 206).

In addition to a definition of education, three questions shaped the development of our conceptual framework: (1) What is the nature of teaching, both as we practice it and as we wish our candidates to? (2) What are the models of learning we wish to develop in our candidates and practice within our faculty? (3) What is the knowledge base we wish to incorporate in our instructional program?   The answers to these questions culminated into five Derivatives that describe our framework.  In what follows, we provide a brief introduction to our derivatives with a direct reference to a primary source that helped guide our thinking.

Derivative #1: Habits of Judgment and Development of Character [Scheffler (1965, 1976); Schön (1983)]

Taking this derivative seriously commits us as a faculty to developing both habits of mind and habits of the heart that will lead to a practice steeped in reflection and judgment and based in the ethics that define good character.

Derivative #2: Teaching as Artistry [Eisner (1998)]

As an ethical activity, teaching requires, among other things, that teachers value their students. Valuing as in appreciation carries a connotation of the aesthetic. That is, teachers must exhibit artistry in the practice of their craft and must develop in becoming a connoisseur of excellent teaching which is essential to becoming an excellent teacher.

Derivative #3: Subject Matter Content as Medium [Shulman &Wilson (2004)

A derivative that explores subject matter content as medium arises from Scheffler’s definition of education and our claim that teaching is an art, grounded in ethical and aesthetic qualities. The artfulness of teaching is a fusing of pedagogy and content that we recognize, as Shulman did, as pedagogical content knowledge.  Teachers make pedagogical judgments about what content to address and how to design classroom experiences that will assist students in engaging this content as a means to expand and deepen their own learning. The task of the teacher is to design learning experiences that will enable students to develop their own capacity for understanding (i.e., form habits of judgment, etc.).

Derivative #4: Race, Culture, and Social Justice [Banks & Banks (2004)]

A derivative that explores race, culture, and social justice attempts to call into question the social and political agenda in this country that has long included (and in some ways continues to be) the myth of cultural assimilation and the practice of racial hegemony in the pursuit of multicultural education. Banks and Banks (2004) describe the dimensions of multicultural education as:  (1) content integration, (2) the knowledge construction process, (3) prejudice reduction, (4) an equity pedagogy, and (5) an empowering school culture and social structure (p. 20). Drawing on our view of education, as embodied in Scheffler’s definition and Banks and Banks multicultural education, we must include a commitment to providing experiences that foster a critical understanding of the central role of race, cultural and social justice.

Derivative #5: Technology [AACTE (2008)]

Technology as a knowledge base, medium of instruction and communication, and medium of research and professional development offers possibilities to educators at all levels.  In exploring a derivate that addresses technology, we do not intend to imply that technology in and of itself is as fundamental to our conceptual framework as our other derivatives; however, technology clearly is a component of our work, as a means to an end and not an end in itself. Technology pedagogical content knowledge must serve to promote and ensure collaborative and ethical work, must engage users in critical and creative thinking and problem solving that supports candidate construction of meaning, must be weighted in light of student diversity and cultural differences and most essentially social justice and equity of access and opportunity (the digital divide).

Courses in the content area majors and minors have course goals and objectives aligned with the NMU Conceptual Framework. The conceptual framework and program philosophy for students, cooperating teachers and faculty are outlined for each phase of the program clearly showing how Phase I (pre-methods), Phase II (methods) and student teaching coursework align. All degree requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Education are made available to students and faculty.  

Sequence of Courses and/or Experiences to Develop an Understanding of the Structures, Skills, Core Concepts, Ideas, Values, Facts, Methods of Inquiry, and Uses of Technology

Our program is designed with an emphasis on candidate development through three program phases, coupled with blocked courses, and integrated field experiences. The phases are: Phase I – Pre-Methods; Phase II – Methods; and, Phase III – Student Teaching. Each phase is based upon a set of indicators from the Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers that are linked to the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher.

Entry into the Professional Education Sequence, as defined by the Teacher Selection and Retention Standards, requires a 2.7 minimum GPA and a demonstration of basic skills in the areas of reading, writing and math. To maintain enrollment in the elementary education sequence all candidates must maintain a 2.7 GPA in their overall, major(s), minor(s) and professional education sequence areas through all program phases.  

The Suggested Course Sequence Guide for Elementary Education at NMU provides guidance for candidates on the sequencing of courses. Prior to admission to the Professional Education Sequence or during Phase I of the program candidates complete the following content area courses taught by Education Unit faculty: MA 150 Mathematics for the Elementary School Teacher I, MA 151 Mathematics for the Elementary School Teacher II, MU 149A Music in the Elementary School I, AD 310 Art for the Elementary Classroom Teacher, PE 224 Developmental Physical Education for Elementary Teachers, HL 150 Health and Education for the Elementary School Teacher, MSED 250 Physical Science for Educators, MSED 251 Life Science for Educators, MSED 252 Earth Science for Educators, and HS 126 The United States to 1865. Candidates are required to complete 16 credits in the social studies at a C or better and are advised to complete courses within the four pillars of the social studies. NMU requires all graduates to complete a world culturescourse prior to graduation.


Upon entry to the Professional Education Sequence candidates complete Phase I: Pre-Methods consisting first of ED 201 Introduction to Education and ED 301 Dimensions of American Education where students explore and situate themselves within the profession. These courses require students to develop their philosophy of education, interview practicing educators, and to define the legal and ethical obligations of their profession. Phase I continues with ED 230 Teaching for Learning in the Elementary Classroom which is a learning theory course situated in a K-4 elementary school and supervised by the instructor of record.


Meeting the GPA requirements in all areas listed above and a passing score in all three areas of the MTTC Basic Skills allows candidates to apply for methods. Phase II: Methods is conducted over the course of two semesters and is situated in local schools and students must complete a methods application to this phase of the program. The first semester Block I courses are blocked together to allow for instructors to connect learning across disciplines and to model for students an interdisciplinary approach in a K-4 setting. Block I consists of ED 311 Language Arts Methods and Materials for Elementary Teachers, ED 316 Elementary Reading Instruction I (3 credits of the required reading courses), ED 306 Children's Literature, ED 361 Special Education and the General Classroom Teacher, and ED 483 Educational Media Technology. Building upon their content course requirements and pre-methods learning, candidates complete lesson planning with classroom teachers at all building grade levels focusing on fiction and non-fiction unit development and delivery, reading assessments, individualized and differentiated instruction and instructional technology all consistent with the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations.

Second semester Block II courses are blocked and continue the interdisciplinary approach. Block II courses are situated in a 5-8 middle school setting and are comprised of the following:  ED 307 Integrating the Arts into the Elementary Curriculum, ED 310 Social Studies Methods and Materials for Elementary Teachers, ED 312 Science Methods and Materials for Elementary Teachers, ED 318 Elementary Reading Instruction II (3 credits of the required reading courses), and MA 353 Methods and Materials in Teaching Elementary School Mathematics. ED 318 requires candidates to conduct reading assessments and lesson planning for 5th grade students over the course of the semester. In addition to the 5th grade reading focus, the Block II courses guide candidates through interdisciplinary unit/lesson development using clearly defined Grade Level Content Expectations selected by the partnering classroom teachers. Candidates observe teaching and learning as teams in assigned classrooms. The Block II teaching experience occurs over the course of one week in the middle school classroom with Block II candidates teaching the entire day over the course of a week. Classroom teachers and NMU professors guide candidate reflection and critique of the teaching and learning.

Student Teaching

Admission to Phase III: Student Teaching requires the candidate to complete a pre-application two semesters prior to the experience and an application one semester prior. Candidates can request a split placement or a full semester placement. Candidates are individually reviewed to determine which student teaching experience will best support their needs. All elementary candidates complete ED 420 Teaching in the Elementary School where candidates take on the responsibilities of the classroom teacher with mentor support from a cooperating teacher and a university supervisor. To model and guide the reflective practice outlined in our conceptual framework, all candidates participate in ED 450 Seminar in Teaching. All candidates must obtain a level of “Proficient” from their cooperating teacher(s), university supervisor and self in all categories on the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher to successfully complete the program.

Candidates who meet all requirements for graduation, obtain a level of “Proficient,” provide evidence of CPR/First Aid completion and passing scores on all MTTC elementary and subject area tests are recommended to the state for certification. 

Preparation to Utilize a Variety of Instructional Approaches to Address Various Learning Styles of Students

All courses in the Professional Education Sequence incorporate the need to address varied individual learning styles through each phase of the program. The Pre-Methods Phase uses ED 201 and ED 301 (foundations) to facilitate understanding of learning styles within the context of society as a whole. ED 230 (teaching for learning) provides classroom instruction and 30 hours of on-site field experiences to allow students to observe and plan for these varied approaches. As candidates move into the Methods Phase there is a direct application of their pre-methods courses as they plan, implement and reflect upon lesson delivery in classrooms with varied populations and learning styles through ED 310 (social studies), ED 311 (language arts), ED 312 (science), ED 316 (reading), ED 318 (reading), MA 353 (math) ED 361 (special education) and ED 483 (technology). In addition, the program requires candidates to develop strategies for varied learning styles through AD 310 (art), HL 150 (health), MU 149A (music), PE 224 (physical education), ED 306 (children’s literature) and ED 307 (integrated arts). Addressing the high needs areas of math and science is a priority as candidates complete content area courses in the required program taught by teacher educators. The following math and science content courses incorporate varied teaching and learning styles: MA 150 (math), MA 151 (math), MSED 250 (physical science), MSED 251 (life science) and MSED 252 (earth/space science). Application of these learning styles in multiple grade level setting during methods supports the transition to the Student Teaching Phase (ED 420) where they are applied and assessed over the course of a semester through the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher, a final portfolio and a mock interview.

Gender Equity, Multi-cultural, Diversity and Global Perspectives

All courses in the Professional Education address the study of gender, multiculturalism, diversity and global perspectives. NMU requires all students to complete a World Culturesrequirement prior to graduation. The pre-methods foundations courses (ED 201 & ED 301) expand on that world view as it relates to schooling. The pre-methods learning theory course (ED 230) expands on this knowledge through its immersion in a local school setting and a required field experience to the Danz School in Green Bay, WI (87% free and reduced lunch; 21% white; 8% African American; 65% Hispanic; 4% Asian; 2% Native American).

All methods courses (ED 310, ED 311, ED 312, ED 316, ED 318, MA 353, ED 361, ED 483, AD 310, PE 224) are field based and situated in the Marquette Area Public Schools which is comprised of male and female students, racially diverse populations (85% white; 3.5% African American; .4% Hispanic; 2.6% Asian; 8.2% Native American), students on free and reduced lunch (26.7%), and inclusive classrooms.

The NMU Teacher Education fully supports a candidate’s request to student teach out of the Upper Peninsula. The requests to student teach out-of-area must be rooted in the diversity of the experience the candidate will gain by working with varied populations. Placements in urban and rural areas that meet these criteria are supported around the world. During student teaching, candidates are encouraged to complete ED 222 Classroom Management and ED 223 Multicultural Education in addition to the required seminar (ED 450) to facilitate a deeper understanding of these issues per request of the student teacher.

Multiple Methods of Assessment

ED 230 Teaching for Learning in the Elementary Classroom provides an introduction to assessment principles related to teaching and learning. ED 483 Educational Media Technology in Block I Methods requires candidates to reflect on their pre-methods learning and to incorporate Block I and Block II Methods new learning into a portfolio that demonstrates teaching and learning connected to state and national assessments as supported by the Grade Level Content Expectations. The portfolio is a requirement of successful completion of student teaching.

The field based program in the methods phase allows candidates to participate in the development and administration of multiple assessments at local schools under the guidance of classroom teachers and teacher educators.

Lesson plans throughout methods (ED 310, ED 311, ED 312, ED 316, ED 318, MA 353, ED 361, ED 483, AD 310, PE 224) and student teaching (ED 420) are assessed for their ability to measure student achievement as they relate to the individual and interdisciplinary units and plans developed and taught by each candidate. Proficiency in this area is measured throughout the program and assessed upon completion of the program in the Final Evaluation of Student Teacher, a final portfolio and a mock interview.

Collaboration with K – 12 Districts and Regional Service Agencies

Candidates and faculty collaborate with K – 12 districts throughout the Professional Education Sequence. The pre-methods courses begin this collaboration with ED 201 and ED 301 where candidates make individual connections to local classrooms for required assignments. ED 230 is situated in a local school setting and requires 30 hours of participation. Ten of those hours are directly supervised by a teacher educator where candidates be guided in their reflection through common experiences. The Block I methods courses are field based and occur in local elementary schools. Each section of the methods in this block has its own site school supervised by the professor and the Field Experiences Office. Block II methods occur in a 5 – 8 middle school. Candidates work with an assigned 5th grade classroom in reading instruction and an assigned 7th grade interdisciplinary team for semester observations culminating with a one week on site interdisciplinary unit taught by the candidates. All methods courses support the programs and Grade Level Content Expectations of the local schools.

Academic Service Learning is embedded throughout the program. In addition to local tutoring and coaching, candidates complete read-ins at local schools supporting Title I and the Marquette Alger Reading Council NMU Chapter through ED 316 (reading) and ED 318 (reading); teach in Weekend and Summer College for Kids through the Math/Science Seaborg Center (MA 353 math, ED 312 (science); conduct on-site teaching through Project Wet and Project Wild at Clear Lake Science Center (ED 312); develop lesson plans for the Iron Ore Industry Museum (ED 310); and support children with special needs through Student Michigan Education Association/Council for Exceptional Children (ED 361). Candidates can also volunteer for a number of on-campus programs supporting student growth such as the Young Wildcat Scholars Program, Upward Bound, and Upward Bound Math/Science.

Support and Professional Development for Teacher Candidates during the Induction Period

Graduates of the elementary program are supported through the induction period in a variety of ways. NMU offers graduate programs in the areas of reading, science, administration, and learning disabilities. These courses are offered on campus and online.

The School of Education, Leadership and Public Service collaborates with the Marquette Alger Educational Resource Agency to provide ongoing professional development through the Action in Education Series offered every summer. Workshops and professional development are provided to teachers in the induction years upon request from local districts. 

The following centers, conferences and events on NMU’s campus provide ongoing support to teachers during their induction years and beyond: