The University of Prince Edward Island is making changes to its Bachelor of Education program. “The program has been re-organized in order to allow its graduates to be more marketable and competitive when seeking jobs,” stated interim UPEI Dean of Education Ron MacDonald today.
The changes came about after a three-year program review by the Faculty of Education and approval of a proposal made to the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. The renewed program features elements such as an expanded student experience and improved preparation for diverse classroom settings as well as other types of educational environments.
The renewed program will be delivered in a compressed format over one year. “The quality of the program will be maintained in the new BEd,” said MacDonald. “We will retain the same number of courses, the same practicum expectations, and the same specializations. The program will begin in May 2014 and end in May 2015, one year later.”
Every year, up to 300 teachers are newly certified in PEI. Of that number, UPEI’s program has contributed approximately 85 graduate certifications–BEd (French, English, and Music). After determining that many potential students go elsewhere because they can complete the degree in a shorter timeframe, the Faculty looked at a one-year program. To transition to the new format, in May 2015, UPEI will graduate two classes. In the following years, an annual cohort of 75 students is expected to graduate from BEd programs.
Recruitment efforts will target Math, Science, as well as French undergraduates in order to address high need areas in the K-12 system on PEI, and elsewhere in Canada. Students will also be taking more Math and Science teaching preparation courses to enhance graduates’ ability to teach math and science.
Pre-service teachers will take core K-12 based courses designed to expose students to the full gamut of learning opportunities for all children. Gaining a more complete understanding of this total experience will facilitate pre-service teachers’ understanding of the teaching and learning process, as well as reorienting their views of education by examining the culture of school and schooling. Every BEd student will also take a course in EAL (English as an Additional Language). This addresses the need for EAL teacher training, preparing graduates for both Canadian and international settings.
The BEd now has three specializations—International, Indigenous, and Adult Education. The International and Indigenous specializations have long been a popular option for many BEd students, and the addition of the Adult Education focus will now allow students the opportunity to work with adults outside of the traditional K-12 classroom. The experiences will give students the skills and mind-set they can apply in many contexts, which will set them apart from BEd graduates from other programs.
UPEI BEd graduates are known for their high-calibre skillset and are well received by principals and employers. Students are ready for the classroom and can adapt to a multitude of educational environments thanks to a lengthy practicum—20 weeks—among the longest in the country, and practical, relevant courses.