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As a student in The College of Idaho's Department of Education, you will gain a thorough knowledge of educational theory, best teaching practices, and the content you can apply in the classroom. We are committed to improving student learning in K-12 classrooms by preparing you to be an outstanding teacher. The department works collaboratively with K-12 practitioners, professional organizations, policy makers, and other departments across campus to support our students' development as outstanding educators. Field experiences in K-12 classrooms are integrated with coursework throughout the program.

For students interested in becoming a licensed teacher, your pathway through PEAK and on to licensure is described below. In each case, note that the graduation requirements of PEAK are only part of fulfilling the licensure requirements. In order to teach, every prospective teacher must also complete the fifth-year internship experience.

Students who wish to earn elementary certification complete the Interdisciplinary Studies for Elementary Education Precertification major in the Social Sciences & History (SSH) PEAK. Students will also select PEAK minors in the Humanities & Fine Arts (HFA) and Natural Sciences & Math (NSM) PEAKs, one of which must be a second teaching field minor, and will complete the Professional Foundations and Enhancements minor in the PFE PEAK. 

Students preparing to teach at the secondary level (middle school and high school) complete a content major in their first teaching field, a minor in education, and additional minors in two other PEAKs. One of these minors is usually a second teaching field minor. In some cases, however, a student may need to select an additional minor in one of the four PEAKs to fulfill the licensure requirements of a second teaching field.

Both the elementary and secondary preparation programs culminate in a fifth-year internship with placements in multiple grade levels and, in the case of secondary candidates, different subject areas. Students must apply and be approved into the fifth-year licensure program.

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program complete two summers of study in addition to the fifth-year internship as part of their graduate degree program. The department also offers a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction: TESOL and Bilingual for certified teachers. For more information, see the Graduate catalog.

Why Study Education at The College of Idaho?

In your education coursework and the rest of your classes at The College of Idaho, you will experience professors who teach from the heart. Here, learning from experienced educators who have a passion for teaching, you're in the perfect place to embark on a career in which you will impact countless young lives as an elementary, middle, or high school teacher.

The Conceptual Framework

The Education Department at The College of Idaho strives to be a learning community. The conceptual framework of our program is one based on John Dewey's understanding of educative experiences that encourage personal and community growth (Dewey & Archambault, 1964). It is a community where students are provided with a reflective, caring environment so that the process of becoming a teacher can be explored. It is a community where students are offered a vision of schooling that promotes and helps create a more just and democratic society.

Community of Learners.  An educative learning community counters the image of the teacher as a "technician" with one of the teacher as an active participant in issues that affect the larger educational community (Apple & Beane, 2007). Rather than avoid a discussion of values, this perspective advocates the necessity of such discussions because teaching is, at its core, a value-laden enterprise (Goodlad, Soder, & Sirotnik, 1990). The program, based upon students who learn and grow together, encourages ongoing "conversations" about meaningful issues central to a liberal arts education.

Critical and Caring Pedagogy.  An educative learning community takes the position that a hopeful, democratic future depends upon educators committed to emancipatory education (Giroux, 1997). It reflects Landon Beyers' description of an emancipatory curriculum in teacher education as one that is designed to emphasize the following: equal access to knowledge, images of human equality, development of a "critical consciousness," self-reflectivity, creativity, cultural acceptance, moral responsibility, democratic empowerment, and a pedagogy of caring (Beyer & Apple, 1998). It affirms Nel Noddings's belief that for schools to be true centers of learning, they must embrace caring in all its forms—care for self, for intimate others, for associates and acquaintances, for distant others, for nonhuman animals, for plants and the physical environment, for the human-made world of objects and instruments, and for ideas (Noddings, 2005).

Constructivist Learning.  An educative learning community takes a constructivist perspective toward classroom practice in which learning is seen as active, purposeful, and generated from within. This perspective, rooted in Piagetian principles of development and drawing on Vygotsky (Tryphon & Voneche, 1996), extends the notion of the construction of knowledge from one that is primarily an individualized and internal process to one that more comprehensively encompasses social foundations of thinking (Bruner, 1986). In this view, knowledge is not only embedded in socio-historical and socio-cultural elements but is actually generated through shared interactions and individual internalization (Wertsch, 1991).

Career Opportunities for Education Students

The College of Idaho has a proud tradition of producing exceptional educators. Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in teaching and school administration, earning countless awards, grants, and recognitions for their outstanding work as educators in Idaho and around the world. Education majors and minors may also go on to earn graduate and doctoral degrees and teach at the college level.