Elementary Education (4-8) Major

The Elementary Education Grade 4-8 major is an accredited program approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requirements for teacher certification in Grade 4-8. The program is aligned with PDE requirements for certification. Throughout the Elementary Education Grade 4-8 program,  students integrate theory with practice through coursework and field experiences in 4-8 classrooms in local schools. 

The undergraduate Teacher Education programs are built upon a strong liberal arts curriculum provided through the General Education Program (GEP) at Saint Joseph’s University. This enables students to integrate their understanding of interdisciplinary content with an understanding of developmentally appropriate pedagogy. 

Goal 1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of young adolescent learner development.

Outcome 1.1: The student will understand and accurately interpret key concepts, principles, theories, and research about young adolescent development in social context.

Outcome 1.2: The student will identify the diverse developmental needs and abilities of 4-8 learners.

Goal 2: The student will understand and use the central concepts, standards, research, and structures of content to plan and implement curriculum that develops all young adolescents’ competence in subject matter.

Outcome 2.1: The student will describe and explain the philosophical foundations of middle level education and apply this knowledge in analyzing classroom management and instructional design.

Goal 3: The student will understand and use developmentally appropriate instructional strategies.

Outcome 3.1: The student will describe and analyze a range of specific teaching strategies and apply them appropriately in instructional planning, modifying their use based on the unique learning needs of middle school students.

Outcome 3.2: The student will demonstrate a practiced habit of self-analysis and collaboration with students and colleagues to assess the impact of instruction on student motivation and learning and will adjust teaching accordingly.

Goal 4: The student will demonstrate understanding and effective use of multiple methods of assessment.

Outcome 4.1: The student will define and describe types of valid and reliable educational assessments (including screening, diagnostic, formative, summative, and authentic) and identify strengths, weaknesses, and appropriate uses associated with each.

Outcome 4.2: The student will analyze and interpret assessment data to understand patterns and gaps in learning, to guide planning and instruction, and to provide meaningful feedback to learners and their guardians.

Goal 5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of educating for social justice.

Outcome 5.1: The student will describe key elements of interacting positively and respectfully with those of different racial, ethnic, language, and socioeconomic backgrounds and sexual orientations.

Outcome 5.2: The student will identify and describe practices and policies that reinforce inequalities and undermine 4-8 student learning, as well as steps that can be taken to challenge such practices in order to create a more just society.

INTASC Standards

Standard #1: Learner Development. The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.

Standard #2: Learning Differences. The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

Standard #3: Learning Environments. The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.

Standard #4: Content Knowledge. The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.

Standard #5: Application of Content. The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.

Standard #6: Assessment. The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.

Standard #7: Planning for Instruction. The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.

Standard #8: Instructional Strategies. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.

Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice. The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.

Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration. The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.

The traditional undergraduate programs includes a minimum of 120 credits distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas1:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive
  3. Writing Intensive, and
  4. Diversity

Overlay requirements are part of the 120 credit requirements

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses:

2nd Natural Science with Lab4
POL 111Intro to American Politics3
HIS 201U.S. History to 18773
or HIS 202 U.S. History since 1865

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

 Major Requirements 

EDU 150Schools in Society w/ Field (GEP First Year Seminar)3
EDU 151Cognition & Learning w/ Field (GEP)3
EDU 157Adolescent Development w/Field3
EDU 231Assessment and Evaluation3
EDU 242Tech Enhan Curr & Inst w/Field3
EDU 246Language and Culture w/ Field3
EDU 247Literacy in Cont Areas w/Field3
EDU 471Writing in the Classroom3
SPE 160Intro to Special Education3
SPE 205Inclusive Classrooms w/ Field3
SPE 379Fam School & Comm:Diverse Soc3
EDU 412Instr Techniq Soc St w/Field3
EDU 416Instr Techniq Math w/Field3
EDU 418Instr Techniq Science w/Field3
EDU 496Student Teaching (4-8)12

4-8 Major Additional Content Requirements

Students who complete the 4-8 program can be certified to teach all subjects in grades 5-6. They must choose one or two disciplines and take additional introductory and advanced courses in order to be certified to teach the selected subject(s) in grades 7-8. The following options are available:

Option 1: One concentration and three generalist academic content areas

Option 1A: English/Language Arts/Reading
Option 1B: Mathematics
Option 1C: Science
Option 1D: Social Studies

This option for teacher candidates is to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in one of the four content areas of mathematics, science, English/language arts and reading or social studies as well as 12 credits in each of the two remaining content areas.

 Option 2: Concentration in two content areas

Option 2A: English/Language Arts/Reading and Science
Option 2B: English/Language Arts/Reading and Mathematics
Option 2C: Science and Mathematics
Option 2D: Social Studies and Mathematics
2E: Social Studies and Science