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Academic Programs

Overview of Programs

Improving education is one of America’s biggest priorities as well as one of its greatest challenges. Today’s teachers must balance a growing list of responsibilities, adapt to diverse learning environments and find creative ways to engage students who range from academically accelerated to at-risk.

A Bethel College education degree gives you a firm educational and spiritual foundation for a career as a 21st century teacher, whether you desire to teach in a K-12 or preschool classroom. Through our experiential-based teacher education programs, you not only learn the content needed to teach, but also develop the skills to inspire and motivate students and to create an enriching classroom setting where they can come to learn, grow, and prepare for the future.

Preparing You To Teach: Early Childhood Education

Bethel’s early childhood education curriculum combines a strong teaching methods foundation and courses in early childhood development, children’s literature, nutrition, and childcare administration. Field experiences are an important part of your program, providing you with opportunities to observe and participate in different education environments, as well as preparing you for the final practicum experience.

With a degree in Early Childhood Education, you will have many career options, including preschools, childcare centers, federally funded Head Start programs, before- and after-school programs, summer camps, and church- and community-based programs.

Preparing You To Teach: Elementary Education

Our elementary education major gives you a strong methods foundation to teach all content areas in K-6. You’ll begin fieldwork in local schools starting with your first education course. By the time you’re ready for student teaching, you will have had more than 200 hours of broad-ranging experiences in different grades and schools and with students from varying cultural, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Preparing You To Teach: Secondary Education

For secondary education and all-grade majors, methods classes are just one component of your teaching curriculum. Bethel education graduates are well known for strength in content area, and a large number of your courses will be in the subject area that you have chosen to teach. For example, Math Education majors will find their program combines in-depth preparation in mathematics with professional teacher education methods.

The education department works closely with your subject-area academic department to coordinate your studies. You benefit from dual-advisors for your education and subject-area course requirements.

Each of your professional education courses has a field component so you’ll have plenty of hands-on experience in the classroom before you begin your student teaching semester.

Learn By Doing

The capstone of teacher preparation is a semester of student teaching. Your many hours of field experience will help ensure that you’re comfortable in a classroom before stepping in front of the class as a Student Teacher. Under the guidance of your supervising teacher and the Bethel education faculty, you will be on the road to becoming an effective teacher.

Your field experiences in local schools will expose you to diverse student populations. Bethel is in close proximity to urban school districts in Elkhart, Goshen, Mishawaka and South Bend, as well as suburban and more rural school corporations. The preparation of Bethel education majors is well known in local school corporations. School administrators report, “We can see the difference when a Bethel student is in the classroom.”

While most students complete student teaching within an hour’s drive of campus, you can also take advantage of student teaching abroad. Recently, students have completed their student teaching experience in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and South Korea.

Teachers Helping Teachers

Across the curriculum, faculty bring rich experiences, a commitment to helping you develop your own teaching skills, individualized teaching, and a desire to see you succeed. Their main focus in ensuring that they prepare you to lead your own classroom.

Our education faculty have taught at all grade levels and in many different specialty areas, including special needs and gifted students. Several have school administration and international teaching background.

A Teaching Tradition

While many students accept job offers at schools where they did their student teaching, they are just as likely to be found in public, private, Christian, and charter schools throughout the United States and around the world.

There is a growing need for teachers in inner-city schools, and Bethel graduates are stepping up to serve. Students feel called to teach and make a difference in some of our country’s most challenging teaching environments.

Bethel alumni have received many building, local, regional, and state teacher-of-the-year nominations and awards. Graduates often broaden their career options with additional licensure or return for a master’s degree to go into school administration.

Engaging Activities

Education majors are active on campus and in church and community. They can be found everywhere from Bethel athletics to music and theatre productions. Students further develop their skills as educators by teaching in community reading programs and Sunday school and serving as camp counselors and tutors. The Education Club offers students opportunities to grow and connect as future teachers.

First-Rate Facilities

Bethel College is full of resources for students in all teaching majors. The Education Resource Center (ERC), located in Bowen Library, is a methods and materials support center for education majors. Some of the resources the ERC offers include juvenile books, magazines, curriculum instruction aids, teacher resource books, audio-visuals, binding and laminating services, an Ellison Die Cut, paper supplies, and more. Online databases such as ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) contain more than 2,200 digests along with references for additional information and citations and abstracts from over 1,000 educational and education-related journals.

Modern classroom buildings are equipped with wireless digital technology and modern laboratories, and students have access to science, math, and language hardware and software. Bethel College classrooms are also home to such technologies as interactive white boards and Apple TV for use with iPads. The Learning Commons is available to students as a study space designed for individual and group work with access to technology and tutors. Other facilities include music, theatre, and fine art studios, and an indoor/outdoor athletic complex.

Accreditation

Bethel’s teacher-licensure programs are accredited by the state of Indiana and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE accreditation is the “seal of approval” for the education profession and means that Bethel’s education department meets national professional standards for the preparation of teachers. Many states base licensing transfer agreements on NCATE accreditation, so graduates from NCATE-accredited schools will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move out of state. In fact, there are more than 40 states that recognize an Indiana license (reciprocity).