Secondary English and Language Arts Education

Our secondary program in English and Language Arts offers prospective teachers the opportunity to examine the connections among teaching and learning, youth in middle and high school, reading and multiple/new literacies, literacy learning across the content areas, and policy and practice issues that inform their in-and-out of school lives as teachers and citizens.

Secondary English Education students complete general education requirements and substantial study in English in the areas of writing, language, and literature as well as pre-professional coursework in education as majors in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Students may also add supplemental endorsements in Journalism, Speech, and Theater.

Students who pursue certification in Language Arts complete coursework in literacy, writing, language, literature, speech, dramatic arts, journalism and mass media.

Students admitted to the Teacher Education Program in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education complete their studies with a three-semester sequence of professional education coursework and field experiences, including practicum and student teaching. Graduates with a degree in secondary English and Language Arts are eligible for certification in the state of Nebraska and elsewhere.

*Supplemental endorsements are possible in Journalism, Speech, and Theatre. This broad field certification is for teaching English subjects in grades 7-12.
*Requirements vary by state and some may require additional coursework.
Key principles* that define teaching and learning in Secondary English and Language Arts in TLTE include:
  • A view of English, language arts, and literacy teaching that stresses cognitive, social, and cultural factors.
  • A focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as thinking and problem solving as these are integrated in different school, community, and work practices.
  • A focus on language(s) and literacy in relation to the wider processes of language development starting early in life and developing further throughout the school years and across the life span as youth acquire different forms and styles of oral and written language for different contexts, practices, and purposes.
  • A commitment to working with prospective teachers who can and will teach all students successfully, including students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, and students who differ with regard for learning, language, and literacy.
  • A commitment to multiculturally informed and sensitive teaching and learning. By this we mean that teachers and students reflect and act on the ways in which cultural differences influence teaching and learning to ensure respect and success for learners from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.
  • A commitment to working with prospective teachers who will know about, acknowledge, and build on the fact that all children and youth acquire a rich and complex native language (in whatever dialect) and develop culturally different, but rich and complex, verbal abilities at home and in their local community.
  • A focus on the full range of cognitive, social, and cultural variation that occurs as youth learn new literacy skills and engage with new literacies throughout school and across the life span.
  • A focus on prospective teachers' deepening knowledge about and dedication to theory, research, and practice and the defense of their literacy practices on the basis of theory and research.
  • Advocacy for no one “right” method, but rather a range of strategies that must be “customized” to and for different sorts of learners in different contexts.
  • Advocacy for working as hard as possible not to separate, at any level, learning to be literate and using literacy to learn (i.e., not to separate literacy and learning).
  • Advocacy for pedagogies for all learners in grades 7-12 that involve learners being immersed in rich and meaningful activities, active teacher scaffolding using both indirect and overt instruction, and learners constructing and reconstructing knowledge in conceptually deep, critical, and transformative ways.

*Principles are adapted from J.P. Gee.

Information on related professional organizations

Nebraska Writing Project
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
International Reading Association (IRA)