Majors, Minor and Certification
Faculty and professional interests
Jason Helfer, chair
Philosophy of education; curriculum and teaching; aesthetic education
Cognitive processes of science learning, theory and practice of teacher preparation, elementary curriculum and methods, educational psychology
Differentiated instruction, literacy, effective teaching methods for high ability students, talent development in English language learners, middle school curriculum and methods
Teacher leadership, middle and secondary school curriculum and instruction
History and philosophy of education, education policy, secondary school curriculum, social studies education
Joel Estes, Educational Foundation
Victoria Romano, Instructional Technology
Educational Studies is a field that uses several disciplinary approaches to arrive at an integrative understanding of the educational process and of what it means to be an educated person within institutions that are themselves part of larger personal, social, and historical contexts. As an area of inquiry, the study of education is expansive, investigating such issues as the nature of knowledge and the ways in which people construct knowledge, the ways in which it can be most effectively learned, the relationships between social justice and a variety of educational practices and institutions, and the values that we need to survive and flourish within a global and multicultural context that is increasingly interconnected, yet fragile.
The Department of Educational Studies offers a wide variety of courses in the academic study of education and in the practical dimensions of teaching and learning. These courses provide inquiry into issues such as the relationship between educational theory, policy and practice and issues of race, ethnicity, social class and gender; the politics of knowledge within schools and other institutions; the different ways in which people learn and how we make sense of our experiences; and the interconnections between educational and other institutions and phenomena such as the family, the economic sector, culture and politics; as well as broader questions of ideology.
The department’s courses provide a strong intellectual foundation for students preparing to enter the profession of teaching or for those interested in study in the field of education. The department's courses also emphasize research-based instructional strategies that help all learners.
The department offers majors with four distinct tracks. The elementary track concentrates on elementary school teaching, and the secondary track focuses on secondary school teaching in a variety of content areas. A third track prepares students to teach music, art, or world languages in K-12 classrooms. The fourth track is a Social Science Education program, which prepares students to teach a range of social science courses at the middle or secondary level. Completing the requirements in any of the tracks does not by itself qualify students for teacher certification. Students must also be recommended by the department for certification and complete the teacher licensure requirements set by the Illinois State Board of Education Standards. These requirements include passing all Illinois Certification Tests.
As a member of the Associated Colleges of Illinois, the Educational Studies Department also participates in a number of programs focused on preparing teachers for high needs schools. For example, majors in the Educational Studies Department have the opportunity to serve as interns during a summer school program for first through twelfth grade students from Chicago Public Schools or work in the Knox College4Kids, a summer enrichment program for children in first through eighth grade. The interns teach their own group of students while completing professional development activities. Teacher candidates can also work with Knox College faculty and area master teachers at Knox College.
Knox offers certification programs approved by the State of Illinois in elementary education, and several subject areas in secondary education (grades six through twelve). The subject areas in which Knox offers secondary education certifications are: English; mathematics; science with designations in chemistry, biology, or physics; social science with designations in history or political science. Knox is also approved to offer certification programs in K-12 Art, Music, and Language. The language designations are Latin, Spanish, and French.
In general terms, students can qualify for recommendation for certification by satisfactory completion of a major in Educational Studies; for secondary and K-12 education programs another major in a subject field (the second major must be in the teaching area); completion of the Knox general education courses; required field work and clinical practice, including all components of student teaching; and successful passage of the State of Illinois Certification tests. In order to meet certification standards in Illinois and other states, students must demonstrate knowledge in the arts, communications, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, sciences, social sciences and global perspectives. The certification office, located in the Educational Studies department, maintains files of current certification requirements. (The ISBE may change certification requirements, usually with significant advance notice. The Educational Studies Department will communicate the substance of these changes to students currently enrolled in coursework and/or majoring in Educational Studies.)
Students should consult a faculty member in the Educational Studies department, early in their college career, to arrange their respective courses of study.
The Teacher Education Program
Admittance to the program and subsequent student teaching is based on attaining a 2.5 GPA prior to student teaching overall and in the major(s), satisfactory completion of all prior Educational Studies courses and fieldwork, a recommendation for student teaching from a course instructor of record in the methods course in which a student is enrolled or practicum teacher with whom the teacher candidate works, and successful completion of the Test Of Academic Proficiency or a composite of 22 on the ACT+writing exam or a composite score of 1030 on the reading and mathematics portions of the SAT+writing and the appropriate Illinois State Content Area Test. In order to successfully complete the program resulting in entitlement for initial certification a teacher candidate must: maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the teacher candidate’s major and second field of study and overall, satisfy all other graduation requirements, pass the Assessment of Professional Teaching exam, and successfully complete the EdTPA.
The Illinois Administrative Code states: "All professional education and content-area coursework that forms part of an application for certification, endorsement, or approval that is received on or after February 1, 2012 must have been passed with a grade no lower than 'C' or equivalent in order to be counted towards fulfillment of the applicable requirements."
As per the State of Illinois Teacher Certification Board, beginning February 2010, teacher candidates are limited to five attempts in order to successfully pass any one ICTS exam (The Illinois Basic Skills Test, an appropriate content area test, and the Assessment of Professional Teaching exam). Successful completion of each exam is required for initial licensure. Thus, candidates who take a particular test and do not receive a passing score within five attempts will not be certified for initial licensure in the State of Illinois in the area in which that test is required.
Students must pass the Test of Academic Proficiency or receive a composite score of 22 on the ACT+writing exam or a composite score of 1030 on the Reading and mathematics portions of the SAT+writing prior to enrolling in EDUC 301, and their respective content test prior to enrolling in EDUC 340 (Student Teaching). Students must complete the Assessment of Professional Teaching and the EdTPA during student teaching.
Additional endorsements to the teaching certificate may require between 18 and 24 semester hours of upper division credit and in some content areas the successful completion of a content text in the area of endorsement. Candidates for teacher certification should be aware that requirements for licensure are subject to change by the ISBE and that applicants for licensure must meet the current requirements at the time of application for teacher certification. The Department of Educational Studies monitors these changes and informs educational studies majors of changes in requirements. It is essential that teacher candidates meet regularly with their Educational Studies Advisor. Please contact Jason Helfer for questions about certification requirements.
All teacher candidates must uphold the Illinois Code of Ethics for Educators. Faculty Evaluation of Teacher candidate progress, performance, and professional behavior may be evaluated by the Educational Studies Department faculty at any time. Following such evaluations, advisors will notify teacher candidates about the assessment of their progress in the program and inform them of any deficiencies identified and the required action to remain in good standing. Failure to remediate deficiencies may result in dismissal from the program.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - EDUC 202, 203, and 310 serve as writing-intensive courses
- Speaking Key Competency - EDUC 204, 314-316, 318, and 319 serve as speaking-intensive courses
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Information literacy and informed use of technology are acquired in a variety of ways throughout the program that may include workshops, participation in special programs, requirements of particular courses, or enrollment in Educational Studies technology courses.
Departmental Learning Goals
The Knox College Teacher Candidate shall:
- (Democratic Foundations)
- Understand the importance of the development of learning communities and environments that embrace diversity
- Possess an understanding of the historical, ethical, political, and social issues associated with education
- (Knowledge Foundations)
- Understand the importance of the study of the nature of knowledge, pedagogical practices, and methods of assessment and evaluation
- Recognize the breadth and depth of knowledge, which integrates the study of education with the other disciplines
- (Praxis Foundations)
- Integrate theory and practice that is developed, supported, and maintained through reflection
- Understand the importance of meeting state and national standards, developing the habits of mind that encourage professional growth, and creating leaders in educational communities