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2020 graduate Robby McKay named a Knowles Teaching Fellow, amplifying his early career through professional development, networking.
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Secondary Education

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Becoming a Secondary Education Teacher

The Secondary Teacher Preparation Program at Michigan State University is a five-year program with an emphasis on preparing knowledgeable, skillful and professional secondary teachers. We have been ranked No. 1 in the nation for secondary (and elementary) education for 28 consecutive years (U.S. News & World Report). The No. 1 ranking reflects our commitment to developing and mentoring excellent teaching practices. It also reflects our outstanding reputation with superintendents, principals, teachers and educators not only in Michigan, but around the globe. The reason for this reputation is simple: MSU’s College of Education develops teacher leaders.

You will develop deep content knowledge in the subject(s) you plan to teach in sixth through twelfth grade (6-12), take courses on the most effective teaching practices, and experience a full-year, guided teaching internship in a public school after completing the bachelor’s degree.

What is the program like during COVID-19? Hear from a current student, and a Spartan in their internship year.

Commitment to quality teaching: Content preparation

We are guided by research about the critical role of expert subject matter knowledge in quality teaching. The research suggests that possessing general pedagogical skills is not enough. Teachers who know the content well have students who learn more. The knowledge such teachers possess, however, is not simply knowledge of the content. It is knowledge of how learners learn the content—what they struggle with, what they are likely to misunderstand, what questions they are likely to have—and knowledge and skills for designing instruction to capitalize on the way learners learn particular content.

Learning by doing: field placements

We are guided by constructivist approaches to learning, both in the strategies we help teacher candidates learn to use when they teach their own students and in the way we have constructed the program. Learning does not automatically occur when students are told, or even shown, what to do or what to know. Students “construct” their own knowledge, based on their own experiences and the way those interact with the content to be learned.

As a result, field work plays a central role in our program. The role of a teacher educator is not to tell students things about teaching, and (separately and independently) require experiences in schools; the role of a teacher educator, and educators in general, is to monitor and moderate the process by which students make sense of their experiences, including how they connect these experiences with their growing understanding of content and pedagogy.

The internship phase of MSU’s Secondary Teacher Preparation Program is universally recognized as unparalleled and first-class. We place interns in our partner school districts in the Lansing, Detroit Metropolitan and Grand Rapids areas. MSU has also developed a strong relationship with Chicago Public Schools and has internship possibilities in Chicago.