Secondary Education Major

Teaching, reaching, and stimulating middle and high school learners takes strong skills and superior teacher preparation.

Saint Mary’s School of Education is committed to excellent faculty, small class sizes, and real-world experience. This, in turn, trains secondary education teachers to relate to students, helping to launch learners toward future success.

Saint Mary’s School of Education helps secondary education majors create a challenging and positive learning environment for all learners, including those with diverse backgrounds and needs. Toward that objective, strong emphasis is placed on gaining extensive field experience in a variety of settings prior to graduation. Faculty connect these field experiences to coursework, combining theory and practice, modeling effective instruction, providing relevant context, and building confidence to address the variety of situations future teachers will encounter.

Preparing Teachers for Licensure

Students completing a secondary education major receive licensure in grades 5–12 in an academic discipline or K–12 in music (instrumental and vocal) or world languages. In addition to professional education curriculum, requirements include a specific set of courses in an academic concentration to complete a major.

Available Majors

Career Options

Most graduates become classroom teachers in public or private middle or high schools. Some go on to seek advanced degrees in areas like special education, literacy, ELL/bilingual education, educational administration, curriculum and instruction, school counseling, or school psychology. There are many other opportunities for students with education degrees in fields such as business or management.

High School Preparation

Algebra; Biology; Chemistry; English; World Language; Psychology; U.S. History; World History; Technology

Enhance Your Experience

Secondary education majors oftentimes pursue additional studies in psychology or sociology.

Degree Requirements

A. The following:

ED250 Human Relations, Cultural Diversity and Indian Cultures (2 cr.)

This course provides a general introduction to human relations, cultural diversity and Indian cultures as these concepts relate to teaching and learning in the K–12 classroom. Emphasis is placed on providing the students with additional knowledge, expertise or skills in creating a classroom learning climate conducive to supporting differences in cultural, ethnic, racial and gender backgrounds. Special emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of Minnesota and Wisconsin Indian cultures.

PY111 General Psychology (3 cr.)

General Psychology provides an overview of the methods, fundamental principles, and major perspectives which define the discipline of psychology. Intrapersonal and/ or interpersonal psychological processes involved in the biological basis of behavior, sleeping and dreaming, conditioning and learning, cognition, lifespan human development, abnormal psychology, and psychological treatment. Classical and contemporary research and perspectives including the biological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives are explored. Students are actively involved through application, interactive exercises, simulations, and projects.

B. Either LCT140 and COM101 or LH105 and LH455:

COM101 Public Speaking (3 cr.)

This course prepares students to make effective, informative and persuasive presentations incorporating audio-visual enhancements, and to utilize active listening techniques. The responsibilities of both the speaker and the listener are stressed. Practical experience in preparation, delivery/participation, and evaluation are provided.

LCT140 First-Year Seminar (3 cr.)

First-Year Seminar provides new students at Saint Mary's University with an integrated, initial academic experience that enables them to successfully begin the process of developing a Lasallian identity as educated and compassionate adults committed to ethical participation in our global society. To facilitate a practical transition from high school to college, emphasis is placed on developing the academic skills and attitudes necessary for students to think critically about those questions that help shape their identity as young adults: who am I?, what can I become?, and how can I become that person?

LH105 Origins and Foundations (4 cr.)

As the first course in the Lasallian Honors Program at Saint Mary's University, Origins considers a variety of beginnings. This first-year seminar facilitates a successful transition to the university through its emphasis on developing critical academic skills and attitudes as well as appreciation of the university's Lasallian mission and of Winona's natural environment. Points of departure for understanding our intellectual, environmental and spiritual traditions include readings on the natural features of our region and on the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle; the ancient narratives of Gilgamesh, Genesis and The Iliad; and a modern novel, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, which elaborates on the modern significance of ancient hero stories. As part of the introduction to the Saint Mary's community, and as a precursor to the Aesthetics course in the junior year of the honors program, students attend and discuss four local arts events during the semester. Students' participation as audience members provides opportunities to reflect on the nature and value of art in community and culture.

LH455 Lasallian Honors Capstone (4 cr.)

In this capstone experience for seniors in the honors program seminar explore, in a U.S. American context, four spheres of adult life: citizenship, work, relationships and spirituality. Students are challenged to engage these themes through close reading and discussion of texts, reflection on their education in the Lasallian Honors Program, and service learning. The course emphasizes an awareness of historical development of society and social construction of individuals and systems, the challenging and ownership of one's own beliefs, and the living out of Lasallian values in a contemporary world.

C. The following courses to be completed sophomore year:

ED301 School and Society (5 cr.)

The initial focus of this course emphasizes historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education.  Students examine connections between theory and practice on topics within these contexts. Topics include today's students, teachers, school, teacher effectiveness, current issues, school reform, and professionalism. A second focus of the course is an extensive field experience where students observe and participate in elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms. Throughout the course an emphasis is placed on developing skills in human resources and the use of reflective practice in teaching.

ED302 Substance Abuse Prevention and Community Health (1 cr.)

This course is a general introduction to the effects of substance abuse and provides basic familiarization with chemical and public health education programs in the school and community. The course is designed to meet the Minnesota statue for obtaining a teaching license.

ED306 Learning and Development (5 cr.)

In this course, the concept of learning is examined through the cognitive, social-emotional, moral and physical developmental stages of learners.  Principles of teaching and learning are developed in the context of learning theory, teacher effectiveness, learner differences, and building a positive classroom climate.  Students engage in the central question:  What do highly effective teacher leaders know, think and do with respect to learning, development, and learner differences?  Students also participate in a significant clinical experience.

ED307 Educational Technology (1 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare future teachers to utilize 21st century technology tools in and out of the classroom to improve student-learning opportunities.  Pre-service teachers will learn how to engage with current technologies for instruction, identify multi-media tools to support student learning, and become familiar with tools of technology that can be used to communicate effectively with parents and students. An electronic portfolio will be used to demonstrate learning.

D. The following courses to be completed junior year:

ED350 Curriculum and Instruction: Grades 5–12 (4 cr.)

This course is designed to prepare 5-12 pre-service teachers and educational specialists to incorporate current research-based instructional strategies into their classrooms and learn how to effectively build a positive classroom climate at the middle/high school level.  Students will learn how to work effectively at incorporating standards into unit development, design daily lesson plans that align with the standards, and construct assignments that support the diverse needs of learners. An emphasis is placed on developmentally appropriate practices and the diverse needs of learners.  Students participate in a guided clinical experience.

ED360 Reading: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

This course is based on the premise that every teacher is a reading teacher, and that teaching students how to learn from textbooks is as important as teaching them what to learn in specific disciplines. Major objectives of the course include using data to diagnose literacy difficulties, remediation of reading/writing deficits, effective instructional strategies for developing strategic readers and competent writers in content areas, and planning processes necessary to meet the literacy needs of students.

ED370 Educational Measurement and Assessment (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to help students understand and apply assessment theory to real-world situations. Appropriate practices for the construction, analysis, and interpretation of teacher-made and standardized assessment instruments are examined. Methods of monitoring student progress, evaluating student work and grading are practiced through a variety of student activities.

ED375 Addressing Learning Needs in the Field: Reflective Practice as Teacher Research (1 cr.)

Secondary education teacher candidates assess learner needs, design a comprehensive intervention plan for a learner or small group of learners, lead the intervention in a field experience, document the process, and present a final report on the accomplishments of the project and needs for continuing intervention for learner growth and development.  This course is intended to follow, integrate, and apply the knowledge and skills attained from ED350  Curriculum and Instruction, ED370  Educational Measurement and Assessment, and ED360  Reading: Grades 5-12 and also contribute to field hours required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. 

E. One of the following courses to be completed junior year:

ED390 Social Studies Methods: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

This course addresses curriculum, skills, and knowledge needed to teach social studies in grades 5 through 12. Topics studied include national and state social studies content standards for middle and high school, lesson and unit planning, and evaluation procedures. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

ED393 World Languages & Cultural Methods: Grades K–12 (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers with methods for teaching successfully in the area of world languages in grades K through 12. Topics covered in the course include lesson and unit planning, national standards, and questioning skills. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

ED394 Communication Arts and Literature Methods: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers with methods for teaching communication arts and literature in grades 5 through 12. Topics covered include lesson and unit planning, national standards, and questioning skills. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

ED395 Mathematics Methods: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers with methods for teaching mathematics in grades 5 through 12. Topics covered include lesson and unit planning, national standards, and questioning skills. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

ED396 Physical Science Methods: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers with methods for teaching physical science in grades 5 through 12. Topics covered include lesson and unit planning, national standards, questioning skills, discrepant events in science and demonstrations supporting them, and science classroom safety. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

ED397 Life Science Methods: Grades 5–12 (2 cr.)

The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers with methods for teaching the life sciences in grades 5 through 12. Topics covered include lesson and unit planning, national standards, questioning skills, discrepant events in science and demonstrations supporting them, and science classroom safety. Classroom management, effective teaching strategies, and utilization of technology to enhance instruction are stressed.

F. The following courses to be completed senior year:

ED455 Nature of the Exceptional Adolescent 5–12 (2 cr.)

This course examines the characteristics of disabilities and their impact on learners' education and social lives. The foundations of special education are discussed including identification, modifications and requirements for receiving special education services. Working with parents, universal design for learning, and research-based practices for effective teaching and learning for all learners will also be addressed.  The following special needs are addressed in this course: learning disabilities, cognitive developmental delays, speech disabilities, language disabilities, ELL, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, emotional/behavioral disabilities, other health impairments and talented and gifted. Special emphasis is placed on how teachers can effectively meet the needs of all learners in the 5–12 classroom.

ED480 Student Teaching: 5–12 (13 cr.)

While working closely with a cooperating teacher, the student begins to assume the role of teacher in an actual classroom setting, gradually becoming fully responsible for planning, organizing, and teaching lessons, maintaining a conducive learning environment, and becoming acquainted with school routines and practices. The pre-service teacher is expected to demonstrate development of professional dispositions of a well organized, effective, and reflective instructor. Teacher candidates student teach for a semester in the Winona area, or for ten weeks in the Winona area and the remainder of the semester at a student teaching abroad program site. Mastery of the Minnesota State Standards of Effective Practice is expected by the end of student teaching.

ED490 Professional Capstone: Performance Assessment (1 cr.)

This course provides teacher education students with mentoring in a largely self-directed experience completing their Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). The experience is designed to assist teacher candidates in integrating their professional identity along program based dimensions of theory and practice. Reflection and consolidation of personal understanding is accomplished through planning, instructing and engaging students, assessing student learning, and reflection. The course also addresses professionalism and continued professional development for teachers. Coaching courses at Saint Mary's are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of coaching and prepare them as leaders in the field. Elective within the School of Education, this series of courses exposes students to theories, concepts, philosophies, and principles of effective coaching. Students may take the courses in any order. While no formal certification is presented for completion of the series, course content is valuable for those aspiring to serve others as coaches.

G. Secondary English Education majors only:

ED385 Adolescent Literature (1 cr.)

This course surveys literature appropriate to the needs, interests and abilities of middle and secondary school students. It also focuses on the selection, effective presentation and the developmental value of currently available reading material based on specific developmental tasks, and identifiable characteristics, traits, special problems and reading interests of adolescents. This course is required for English majors seeking certification in Minnesota.

Please Note:

Candidates for K–12 certification must complete significant school experiences at elementary, middle school and high school levels including clinicals and student teaching.