There are a number of ways to specialize an education/teaching degree in English in order to begin a career in the classroom. Concentrating on English as a major field of study is typically declared in a program designed to prepare future teachers for roles in secondary schools, either at the middle or high school level. In addition, students preparing for an education career can choose to complete courses for concentrations in English or to meet endorsement requirements to be highly qualified in those specialized areas.
Overview of an Education Degree for Teachers
For any student beginning a degree program in education for classroom teaching, there are core courses that must be completed in addition to any general education requirements. Examples of common courses include foundations of teaching, teaching seminar, exploring teaching, curriculum and instruction, child and adolescent behavior, technology for teaching, classroom assessment, and community and culture. Additional courses are dependent upon whether certification in elementary or secondary classrooms is being pursued.
Future secondary teachers will also be required to declare a major and, in some states, a minor area of study. Choosing to specialize in teaching English will require the completion of additional courses in addition to the final student teaching seminar course in which a prospective graduate works with a professional teacher in a classroom to observe, plan, and teach.
Specializing a Teaching Degree in English
To become an English teacher after graduation, undergraduate students will take courses that range from grammar and usage to literature. An English teacher must be prepared by studying subjects such as English pedagogy, literary studies, British literature, survey of Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, 18th century literature, dramatic studies, poetry fundamentals, world literature, contemporary English, language in society, methods of teaching English, and teaching the art of writing.
The National Council of Teachers of English website has additional information on training, skills, and career specializations for educators who have chosen to become English teachers or to enter into positions that are closely related , such as English as second language professional, reading specialist, or literacy specialist.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Further specialization of an English teaching degree can be developed by declaring a second major or by completing courses in order to fulfill requirements for a state endorsement certification. ESL, or English as a second language, is a common program offering. Future teachers complete a number of additional courses beyond the requirements for an English major, including language analysis, structure and fundamentals of English, computer-assisted language learning, and sociolinguistics.
Reading and Literacy Specialist
A reading and literacy specialist has training to be able to help students who struggle with reading and writing or those students who have advanced reading skills. Examples of courses completed in this specialization for secondary teachers include secondary reading assessment, language diversity, society and education, language diversity, teaching adolescent literature, and assessing literacy learning difficulties.
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To specialize an education/teaching degree in English, undergraduate students are able to begin to define what path they would like to take in their professional careers. Studying literature and grammar is only the start to becoming an English teacher. With specialization in specific areas, future teachers can reach a diverse audience and help everyone to be successful in reading, writing, and literacy.