Teachers make collective and individual decisions about life in rooms in order to help students to develop as active, knowledgeable citizens of a multicultural world. These decisions are based on teachers' understandings of themselves, their students, human development and diversity, subject matter, educational theory, curricular design, instructional method, federal, state, and institutional regulations, and political, social, and moral relationships between education and community and world affairs. Teachers develop their understanding continuously through systematic intensive inquiry into these matters involving problem posing, data gathering through educational literature, product analysis, observation and discussion, probing the historical conditions which yielded the present circumstances surrounding these matters, and acting on this new knowledge. That is, teachers demonstrate the power of education for their students and society by constructing reflective practice from the intellectual and practical sides of their responsibilities in and out of schools.
Penn State undergraduate teacher education programs are designed to provide students with experiences necessary to become certified teachers of world language education. Each program specifies entrance criteria and requires 45 credits of directed general education study to begin the lifelong inquiry into subject area knowledge, followed by professional course work and various field experiences including student teaching. Students gain additional practical experience with children and adolescents through volunteer activities or part-time employment in related areas as well as through the required courses. Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, students receive a bachelor of science degree. To be certified to teach, students must also meet any test and clearance requirements as specified by The Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The World Languages Education major helps prepare students for kindergarten through high school teaching positions and other employment in fields related to their content language areas.
The following teaching options are available for majors in World Languages Education: Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish. The Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language options must be completed in conjunction with one of the other options. Pennsylvania does not issue a teacher certificate in Bilingual Education. Completers of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Option may qualify for the Pennsylvania Program Specialist certificate for ESL, if they hold an existing Pennsylvania teacher certificate.
Opportunities for employment vary according to geographic region and the size of schools. Graduates with strong academic backgrounds, outstanding practicum experience, and determination have often been successful in securing teaching positions in public and private schools. Because school employers seek top quality teachers, graduates benefit from the excellent reputation of Penn State's teacher education programs.