CEHD Offers Minor in Education Studies

Posted: June 27, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

There are many students interested in the field of education who aren’t sure if they want to pursue licensure in teaching. Now these students have the option of declaring a minor in education studies. Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) began offering the new 18-credit undergraduate minor in the spring.

“The education studies minor is intended to provide a strong background for students seeking licensure as a teacher and also to spark an interest in students who are interested in the field of education, but not sure if they want to teach,” says Jeannine Tate, director of field relations and undergraduate studies in education.

The minor is designed to serve two groups of students. The first group consists of those who are considering teaching as a profession. Currently, CEHD offers a variety of licensure programs, mostly at the graduate level, for those with a desire to teach in K-12 classrooms. For undergraduate students considering education, the education studies minor will allow them to explore the field of education and to develop a better understanding of schools and schooling.

The second group of students includes those who might not be interested in teaching or working in schools, but who are interested in disciplines that overlap with and inform education in areas such as law, public policy and social work. For these students, the minor will provide a better understanding of the ways in which their particular interest exists within an institutional setting like education.

“As a citizen and a parent it is important to have a basic understanding of the field of education,” says Tate. “Having a strong background in education will be beneficial to students whether they decide to become teachers or work for other businesses and organizations.”

While every state has its own set of requirements for becoming licensed to teach, those who want to teach in Virginia are required to have a bachelor’s degree in a content area. In addition, they must complete a state approved licensure program at the graduate or undergraduate level that includes curriculum, methodology and specialized skills.

The minor was developed last year after more than 200 potential and enrolled students in CEHD expressed an interest in it. It will serve to complement students’ degree programs in almost any major even though it will not lead directly to teacher licensure.

Various topics important for a basic understanding of the field of education will be integrated into the education studies minor. Subject matter will include an overview of the field and issues that affect it as well as school law, the organization and management of schools, technology and society, politics of American education and the sociology of education.

In some classes, Mason students will have an opportunity to gain experience by observing students at a school site and completing assignments that examine how instructional and behavior management strategies used in the classroom relate to their studies.

CEHD also offers minors in early childhood special education, mild disabilities and severe disabilities. These minors are designed to provide students with background knowledge in special education and can lead to licensure if students complete graduate-level special education teacher licensure programs.

For more information about the education studies minor, contact Tate or visit the CEHD web site.

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