Our secondary program in Science Education provides prospective teachers a wide range of opportunities to examine the connections between teaching and learning science, middle and high school youth, and issues of educational policy and practice. As majors, Secondary Science Education students must complete general education requirements and substantial study in single science area (i.e., life sciences, geosciences, physics, or chemistry) or in the broad field of natural sciences. Students also complete pre-professional coursework in education.
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 who complete a degree in Secondary Science are eligible for certification to teach in the state of Nebraska as well as in other states that provide reciprocal certification.
Key principles that define teaching and learning in secondary science in TLTE include:
- A view of science teaching that incorporates cognitive, social, and cultural factors.
- A focus on the nature of science, scientific thinking, and problem solving as they are integrated in school, community, and work practices.
- An understanding of grades 7-12 science literacy in relation to the wider processes of science as a way of thinking throughout the school years, and across the life span, as youth acquire different ways of knowing 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 in their learning style and home language.
- A commitment to working with prospective teachers who believe that all children and youth can learn science.
- A focus on prospective teachers' evolving knowledge about theory, research, and professional practice.
- Advocacy for an inquiry-based instructional approach that must be customized and optimized for diverse learners in many contexts.