Penn State University / College of Education.

1999 NCATE

College of

Penn State


Teacher Education at Penn State:

Preparing Future Teachers to Become Life-Long Learners

Preparing Future Teacher to Become Life-Long Learners.

Our teacher preparation programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Of the nearly ninety Pennsylvania institutions that prepare teachers, only fifteen are NCATE-accredited, including Penn State. Nationally, about 1,300 schools, colleges, and departments of education prepare school personnel, but only about 500, like Penn State have received NCATE accreditation.

Penn State’s College of Education works with approximately seventy school districts in its student teaching operation alone. In addition, at all of Penn State’s seventeen undergraduate locations, it offers freshman/sophomore -type early field experiences in the public schools. At Penn State’s Delaware County location, the College of Education offers the Urban Early and Middle Childhood Education program, which helps prepare teachers for urban schools in the large metropolitan areas.

The Penn State teacher preparation program emphasizes the continuous process of learning, extended over the entire span of the educator’s professional life. Students are not only required to be knowledgeable about the subject matter that they will teach. They must also learn how to create environments that support the learning and development of all students and clients, how to enrich individual and group learning, and how to use a variety of learning resources, including technology. The Penn State Teacher Preparation Model also expects that our future educators will continually seek opportunities to deepen their understanding of their discipline and of pedagogy, and work collaboratively with others in the education community to evaluate and improve education settings for all learners.

Grounded in a commitment to remain responsive to the research, the best professional practices, and the standards and guidelines regarding the preparation of professional educators nationally, Penn State’s Teacher Preparation Model reflects national professional standard-setting efforts, such as those led by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).


The Penn State Model.



Teacher Education at Penn State reflects the interrelationship between our academic programs and the pertinent research, standards, and best professional practices.

Five elements characterize the Penn State Teacher Preparation Model. They are woven into the teacher education curriculum and are reflected in the expectations we hold of our graduates. Specifically:

1. Educators are Life-Long Learners

Formal knowledge and skills acquired as a part of campus and field-based courses are necessary, but not sufficient, to deal with the complexities and fast-paced changes found in education settings.

Lifelong learning is essential because educators continually make collective and individual decisions about their work in order to best help learners develop as active, knowledgeable citizens of a changing and complex global society.

Upon graduation, we expect that Penn State educators will:

  • be committed to ongoing analysis and continual improvement of teaching and learning;
  • have systematic ways to collect and analyze information about their practice and use that information to improve practice;
  • display a disposition toward continual lifelong learning;
  • understand human development, subject matter and instruction, and the nature of student or client to make and evaluate decisions about teaching/counseling/administering;
  • be disposed to seek professional development opportunities to deepen their own discipline and pedagogical understanding, and;
  • seek and consider evidence of learner understanding in making instructional decisions.

2. Educators Understand Learning and Development

Penn State educators are dedicated to creating just and democratic environments that support the learning and development of all students and clients. By treating all students and clients equitably, educators adjust their practice to account for individual differences.

Upon graduation, we expect that Penn State educators will:

  • know that all students/clients can learn and develop;
  • treat all students/clients equitably;
  • understand and value individual differences;
  • understand prevailing theories of cognition and intelligence to support intellectual, social, and moral development;
  • understand the role and impact of context and culture on learning and development;
  • understand how to foster self-esteem, motivation, character, civic responsibility, and respect for individual, cultural, religious or racial differences;
  • plan how to accommodate the needs of diverse learners, and;
  • consider the challenges likely to be encountered by learners and develop strategies to help learners meet those challenges.


3. Educators Possess Discipline Knowledge and Pedagogical Understanding

Penn State’s teacher preparation program requires that students develop a rich understanding of the subject(s) taught and of the specialized knowledge required to promote student understanding of the subject matter. All baccalaureate degree candidates at Penn State must complete General Education courses distributed among communication and quantification skills, health sciences and physical education, natural sciences, arts, humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences.

General Education courses aid prospective teachers in: developing intellectual curiosity, strengthening their ability to think critically, and cultivating a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. In essence this component of the model aims to cultivate a knowledgeable, informed, literate human being.

Upon graduation, we expect that Penn State educators will:

  • have accurate and appropriate understandings of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines taught;
  • understand how knowledge of subject areas is created, organized, linked to other disciplines, and applied to real-world settings;
  • understand how to develop critical and analytical capacities;
  • understand the pivotal role of prior knowledge and experience in learning and development;
  • understand and use a variety of subject-specific instructional strategies in order to teach for understanding;
  • identify and use a variety of learning resources;
  • understand and use technologies to enhance learning and development;
  • understand national, state, and local goals for the pertinent disciplines, and;
  • examine their own understandings of content to be taught.

4. Educators Manage and Monitor Learning Environments

Penn State educators will learn how to create, enrich, maintain, and alter education settings in order to best provide learning opportunities for all learners. In addition to developing a repertoire of techniques to manage education settings, Penn State educators become proficient at a range of generic learning strategies and know when to use each. Graduates from Penn State’s education programs can be expected to choose and utilize multiple assessment approaches—from standardized assessments to alternative assessments—to monitor learner growth and development.

Upon graduation, we expect Penn State educators will:

  • understand how to create, enrich, maintain, and effectively alter environments to promote individual and group learning and manage learner behavior;
  • create a safe learning environment that supports and respects inquiry, exploration, and intellectual risk taking;
  • understand individual and group motivation and behavior to create environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagements in learning, and self-motivation;
  • understand and use a variety of assessment strategies to monitor, evaluate, and ensure continuous intellectual, social, and physical development;
  • understand and use a variety of generic learning models to promote active learning and understanding;
  • take into account district, state, and national curriculum guidelines, as well as learner background, special needs, and interests;
  • understand how to organize instruction to meet goals and outcomes;
  • be responsive to student and client ideas, comments, and questions, and;
  • set norms for interaction that foster respect and cooperation.

5. Educators are Members of Multiple Learning Communities

Our educators rapidly learn that they are members of multiple communities — from highly specialized, content-specific professional societies to the community that brings together parents and policy makers—working collaboratively on the evaluation and improvement of the education settings for all learners.

Upon graduation, we expect that Penn State educators will:

  • recognize that they are contributing members of the education profession;
  • recognize the contextual and interactive roles of schools, communities, and the various levels of government;
  • foster relationships with colleagues, parents, and agencies to support learning and development;
  • be knowledgeable about special community resources that can be used to enhance learning;
  • reflect on learning and teaching individually and with colleagues, and;
  • act in a professional, responsible, and ethical manner.


Teacher preparation is offered in the following twenty-six areas of certification:

Agriculture German
Art Health & Physical Education
Bilingual Education Latin
Biology Mathematics
Chemistry Music
Communication Physics
Early Childhood Reading
Earth & Space Science Russian
Elementary Social Studies
English Spanish
Environmental Education Special Education
French Speech and Language Impaired
General Science Vocational Education

Office of the Dean, College of Education
The Pennsylvania State University
275 Chambers Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-2526
Fax: (814) 865-0555

This publication is available in alternative media on request.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Willard Building, University Park, PA 16802-2801; tel. (814) 865-4700/V, (814) 863-1150/TTY. (Produced by the Penn State Department of University Publications) U.Ed. EDU 98-20.


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1999 Penn State College of Education.