The undergraduate pre-professional program in middle education is designed to prepare teachers of grades 6-8. This program provides the requisite course offerings and experiences that form the foundation for admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program. The JMU middle education program is based on the following four assumptions:
- Classroom teachers should possess a broad liberal education that provides a context for understanding individual behavior and major social issues in a contemporary democratic and technological society.
- Middle level classroom teachers should possess extensive knowledge and expertise in the content areas in which they teach and understand essential cross disciplinary concepts related to the respective content areas.
- Middle level classroom teachers must have extensive professional knowledge and be able to practice and demonstrate teaching skills that are effective and appropriate for students between the ages of 10 and 14.
- Middle level classroom teachers must have strong problem-solving skills, must be reflective in professional thought and practice, and must be ethically, morally and professionally responsible.
Teacher candidates must meet a set of content and subject-specific criteria that are approved by the Virginia Department of Education. In some states, middle grade teachers must meet minimum preparation requirements in two of the four core subject areas (mathematics, social studies/history, science, English/language arts). In order to meet these requirements, candidates are advised to major in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, a major that will allow them to complete dual content concentrations as well as meet the necessary subject-matter competencies.
The IDLS major is assigned two advisers. One adviser is the adviser for the education pre-professional licensure program who will guide the student through the licensure program requirements. The other adviser is the IDLS adviser who will guide the student through the IDLS major requirements. Students should plan on consulting both advisers regularly. Typically, the education adviser is assigned when the student meets with the head of his/her licensure program and elects the licensure program. This may be as early as the first semester of the first year. The IDLS adviser is assigned when the first year student advising folders are transferred to the IDLS office (second semester, first year). Students are required to check with advisers regularly to ensure timely graduation.
The middle education program enables teacher candidates to become knowledgeable about the developmental characteristics of middle school students, and to create, design and implement curriculum activities that are cross disciplinary in nature and related directly to the social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs of children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Candidates should consult with the department head or an adviser in middle education early during the first year or as soon, thereafter, as possible to obtain information concerning the requirements for admission to teacher education. Candidates should contact the IDLS director for the General Education requirements for the IDLS major.
Candidates should note that they must be fully admitted to teacher education prior to registering for the courses included in the pre-professional middle education program. Candidates should also note that actual requirements may differ from the catalog requirements listed because of changes enacted by the Virginia Department of Education or other accrediting agencies after the catalog copy is approved. Therefore, it is especially important for candidates to confer with education advisers on a regular basis.
It is important for candidates to understand that they must meet the requirements for a baccalaureate degree and successfully complete all undergraduate pre-professional courses and experiences prior to being admitted to the M.A.T. program. Candidates must earn a grade of “B-” or better in all required pre-professional undergraduate courses in the education program to continue in and complete the pre-professional program. Consult The Graduate Catalog for M.A.T. graduate requirements. Admission to and satisfactory completion of the M.A.T. program are required for a recommendation from James Madison University for licensure in middle grades education.
Completion of the five-year professional program in middle education is designed to lead to a Virginia teaching license with an endorsement in middle education. To be recommended for licensure, all candidates must meet the following requirements:
- Complete General Education and IDLS requirements.
- Complete the middle education pre-professional program.
- Meet all admission and retention criteria for teacher education including satisfactory scores on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (formerly Praxis I) and Praxis Subject Assessment (formerly Praxis II) tests.
- Meet admission requirements for the middle education M.A.T. program.
- Complete the graduate portion of the licensure program.
- Meet performance and behavior standards as indicated by ratings on the program Professional Dispositions Checklist.