Which IDLS concentration should I choose?
Either one is fine. Elementary teachers need to have a broad content background which you will get in the core. By studying a discipline in more depth, you gain an understanding of the unique thinking and processes that are necessary for advanced study or any discipline.
In PreK-3 you will usually be responsible for all subjects, In upper grades in some schools, you may group children and rotate classes, being responsible for one or more specific subjects (i.e. you might teach both groups science and the other teacher teaches social studies).
Make your choice on your strength and interest - remember these are upper level courses that majors in those disciplines will also be taking.
Can the program be completed in four years of undergraduate coursework and three semesters of graduate?
Yes. You will be able to complete your General Education, IDLS major and pre-professional education courses by taking @15 hrs per semester without the need for summer session. However, if you come to JMU with a significant number (9+) of AP or dual enrollment hours, you should talk to your education advisor about electives or speeding up your program.
You can also complete minors, participate in ROTC, athletics, fine arts, study abroad, etc. if you carefully plan with your advisor. This may require taking more than 15 hrs per semester or summer coursework.
Is Financial Aid available?
For scholarships and loans that are NOT targeted to education students, see the JMU Financial Aid website http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/ In addition, there are a number of scholarships, some need-based, that are available to licensure students who have met the criteria for admission to teacher education and will be at least juniors in the award year. A listing of these scholarships that are specific to ECED or ELED students can be found at http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/scholarships/foundschl.shtml Applications are due early in the spring semester and information on these can be found in the MH 3100 after the first of the year. If you are a Virginia resident, you should also look into the Virginia Teaching Scholarship Loan program, a forgiveable loan targeted to shortage areas. http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/scholarships/foundschl.shtml
What about if I want to teach somewhere other than Virginia when I finish?
All candidates should apply for and receive their Virginia license at the end of their program. Then when you move to another state, you would apply for a license as an already licensed teacher and based on the contractual agreement that exists between that state and Virginia Department of Education, a comparable license will be issued. There may be specific state requirements such as tests, GPA or coursework that may be required for a permanent license. For more information see http://coe.jmu.edu/esc/Licensure_Out-of-State.shtml and contact the licensing analyst in JMU's Education Support Center.
Are there special admission requirements for teacher education? Do I have to take any specific tests?
Candidates preparing to be teachers must meet the institutional and state requirements for admission to teacher education. This admission is required before enrollment in upper level education courses. Specific requirements include a 2.5 GPA, passing scores on Praxis I, C's in certain courses and other milestones. Full information is available at http://coe.jmu.edu/esc/Admissions_Application.shtml
In addition to praxis I or equivalent SAT scores, three more tests are required for licensure in ECEd or ELED. These are the Praxis II, VCLA and VRA. More information on these can be found at http://coe.jmu.edu/esc/ A quick reference chart of the testing requirements may be found at the testing page on this site.
Will I need a car for all of the field experiences?
In early field experiences, you will be placed in schools with several other students to allow for carpooling. So, you will not need a car right away. However, by your senior year, when field experiences are more personalized, you will want to have your own transportation.
I had courses in high school/participated in teacher cadet type programs, do those count towards JMU coursework?
If you have earned dual enrollment college credit, it will count towards your total hours, but will not meet specific education course credit. All of our courses are tied to specific supervised coursework so that JMU faculty can verify your performance by observing you work with children and teachers.
Where can I student teach?
Currently, if you choose to do so, you may student teach in northern Virginia, Tidewater, Richmond area, Hanover County, Roanoke area, and of course the valley. JMU has specific contracts with these divisions and supervisors in those areas are hired by the department. You will apply for student teaching a year in advance, so will have plenty of time to make any necessary living arrangements.
How many courses will I take each semester?
A typical course load at JMU is around 5 classes or 15 credit hours. During the semesters that you take education courses, you should not exceed the recommended load for that semester, because of the difficulty in scheduling both classes and field experience.
How large will my classes be?
We try to keep undergraduate courses <25 and graduate classes <20. In addition, you will have supervisors for practicum assigned to provide a certain number of visits and certain kinds of feedback based on the level of the course.
How much do I have to study?
You will find that in most education courses, you will not have a lot of objective tests, but you will have many projects and special assignments related to your work in the field. Planning lessons and reflecting on your interactions with children can take a lot of time and require regular attention to them. When you take education courses, you can't procrastinate and time management is essential! We expect you to be a beginning professional with all the responsibilities and behaviors associated with it.
Contact Dr. Martha Ross
EER Department Head