The Department of Teaching and Learning offers a Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies degree that prepares students to teach at the elementary and secondary levels: early childhood through grade six, grades four through eight (middle school) and grades seven through 12 (high school). All of the courses in the program of study are based on the Texas standards for beginning teachers. Undergraduate students pursuing an approved academic major in Dedman College, Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering or Meadows School of the Arts – or the applied physiology and sport management major with a concentration in sport performance leadership in the Simmons School – may also pursue a major in educational studies from the Simmons School. Music education students complete the Education Preparation Program requirements within the Simmons School. Students cannot graduate with only the Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies degree; they must complete both the Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies and another degree major.
Each student in the degree program has an education adviser who directs his/her program of study. The education adviser is committed to mentoring and supporting student learning. Students are expected to maintain high levels of performance and to develop habits of reflection as they acquire knowledge and skills of practice.
The program of study is comprised of courses in the Department of Teaching and Learning as well as courses in other departments. The total number of credit hours required will vary depending upon the grade level or the teaching field and educator certification requirements.
Teacher preparation involves a number of field-based experiential classes in addition to more traditional instruction.
Field Experience and Student Teaching. The Educator Preparation Program includes extensive field experience to help students prepare for careers in teaching. A personal/criminal background check is required prior to field experience. The student progresses from observational activities in classrooms to practice teaching. Upon completion of all coursework in the Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies degree, students have the opportunity to student teach and/or apply for an internship. The student assumes responsibility for an entire classroom in a carefully managed student-teaching experience. SMU students receive mentoring from faculty members noted for their exceptional records as both master teachers and scholars. Exemplary teachers from inner city to suburban settings also act as mentors during the field experience. Part of the field experience comes in the form of either a one-term student-teaching experience or a two-term internship. During the one-term experience, students work with an experienced teacher full-time for 15 weeks in an assigned classroom in a pre-approved Dallas-area public, private or charter school. During this student-teaching term, the student-teaching experience, which is six credit hours, is regarded as full-time enrollment status at SMU for insurance purposes. Students receiving financial aid should meet with financial aid counselors in advance of the student-teaching term to determine aid status. Student teaching ensures that graduates of the SMU teacher education program are better able to enter the teaching profession ready to meet the dynamic learning needs of today’s youth.
Eligibility for Student Teaching. Before being assigned to student teaching, candidates are reviewed by the faculty to determine whether adequate progress has been made in order to assume responsibility for school-age students. Such factors as academic performance, maturity and a demonstrated sense of responsibility are considered. Students must have an overall 3.000 GPA in all education courses before beginning student teaching, and all practice exams and state tests must be passed prior to the student-teaching/internship experience.
Eligibility for Internship. Students deemed by the director of the undergraduate program to be eligible for a first-year teaching position may forego student teaching to seek an internship in an accredited school in the state of Texas. As an intern, students are enrolled in three credit hours of classes each term for the academic year and work under the supervision of an SMU instructor. As required by the Texas Education Agency, the principal will assign a mentor to work with the intern at the school level. The SMU supervisor will conduct six formal observations during the year and complete a midyear conference and an effectiveness evaluation at the end of the school year. The mentor is involved in this process.
TExES Exam. All students seeking teacher credentials are required to take and pass the required state-mandated Texas Examinations of Educator Standards tests in the desired teaching fields. Students must attend preparation debriefs and participate in online preparation modules. When a student does not pass the TExES practice test, a faculty mentor will develop an individual plan of supplemental study to complement a retake of the TExES qualifier. The TExES tests for grades EC through six include the EC–12 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Test, the EC through grade six Core Subjects Test and the Science of Teaching Reading Test. Students preparing for teaching in fourth through eighth grade middle schools must pass the EC–12 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Test, the fourth through eighth grade Core Subjects Test and the Science of Teaching Reading Test. Students preparing for teaching in high schools must pass the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Test for grades EC–12 and a TExES test in their content area. Music students must pass the music content test and the EC–12 Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility Test.
Recommendation to the Texas Education Agency. The Department of Teaching and Learning will recommend to TEA a student who has completed both the Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies and another degree major, taken six hours of a satisfactory student-teaching or internship experience, and passed the two Texas Examinations of Educator Standards tests.
SMU Degree Requirements
An SMU undergraduate degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours and must include completion of the University’s Common Curriculum, one major and a combination of electives and/or other majors or minors. Completion of certain majors requires more than 120 hours to finish the degree. The credit hours within this curriculum are distributed as follows: