As educational careers and instructional certifications become more specialized, education graduate programs are reflecting this by encouraging students to declare a concentration within their education degree program. A concentration makes educators more attractive, often broadening their career prospects and better preparing them to meet the challenges of being an education professional.
While it’s typical for a student to declare a minor in a different field altogether-say, an international trade law major might choose a minor such as Chinese language if he or she intends to work within the Asian marketplace-a concentration is often closely linked with the major, more tailored to a specific job description. Someone looking to establish a career related to electronic teaching methods and new media in education, for instance, might pursue a masters degree in education with a concentration in distance learning, or instructional technology.
Credit hour requirements for concentrations vary greatly; programs typically require anywhere between 12 credit hours and 36 credit hours to complete degree requirements for a concentration within the primary degree program. This varies from one institution to the next, and of course, is dependent on the nature of the concentration itself.
Let’s take a look at a few education degree programs and concentrations to see what’s out there, and to help you better understand how selecting an education concentration might best serve your goals.
Instructional or educational technology is a growing field that emphasizes the use of technology in education, both in the classroom and as a platform for distance learning programs. It encourages the design and implementation of a wide variety of tools to facilitate and advance students’ potential for learning. With modern curricula being built around the use of digital technology and new media, a master’s degree in education with a concentration in educational technology provides teachers with a valuable technological skill set and a solid working knowledge of e-learning methods. Those who understand and embrace these emerging learning methods are in high demand these days, whether it be in education or in private and corporate settings. Check out the International Society for Technology in Education’s Educator’s Resource page to learn more about this exciting, ever-changing field.
Curriculum and Instruction Strategies
A masters degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction strategies can help teachers improve and strengthen their classroom practices. Exploring such areas as student literacy, inclusion and educational leadership, this concentration helps prepare instructors to better implement practical solutions to problems encountered both inside and out of the classroom. There are plenty of related concentrations in education that are associated with curriculum and classroom methodologies that can also benefit administrators, curriculum developers and department heads, among others. In addition, various teacher certifications are contingent upon completing concentrations like curriculum and instruction strategies.
As a practical theory, inclusion is another name for (or synonymous with) what may have been formerly known as “special education”. New educational models emphasize the inclusion of special needs children in the traditional classroom-built around the premise that children who learn together, learn to live together. A concentration in inclusion is designed to provide K-12 classroom teachers and administrators with critical theory and practical knowledge related to special education inclusion-offering educators the opportunity to study and improve upon professional practices, and in some cases, receive special education teacher certification as well.
Language and Literacy
Concentrations emphasizing reading, writing and literacy allow students to focus their attention on the study of how people develop, communicate and process written and spoken languages. This field explores complex relationships between these developmental processes, and how they reflect and relate to institutions, communities and cultures. Naturally, this field appeals to teachers of language and writing, but also has crossover value to those involved in studying new communication methods, particularly as they relate to technological advancement and ever-changing modes of communication. A concentration in language and literacy can prepare students for a broad array of career options, and also puts the graduate student in touch with the most fundamental elements of education: language and communication. The International Reading Association offers an excellent online resource, full of journals, publications and helpful Web tools for literacy and language professionals worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »
Deciding whether or not to homeschool your children is like standing at the edge of a pool, wondering if you should dive in, and friends are shouting conflicting messages from all sides, “Jump in, it’s great!”… “No, don’t jump, it’s too deep and dangerous!” Whether new to the homeschool world or a seasoned veteran, the advantages of homeschool for your family is always at the forefront of your thoughts.
I admit I am biased. I’ve been home educating for over 20 years now. I want to take you by the hand and show you that it is not as scary as it looks and that the pros far outweigh the cons.
If you are searching for answers to what it’s really like to home educate and you want to go a little deeper than the obvious top 10, then realize that some of the benefits of home education are not fully appreciated until after the journey has started. However, even if you’ve never stepped foot into the homeschool arena this list may awaken your heart to benefits you’ve never considered.
In the early years of the homeschool movement opposition to it was fierce. So, for it to last and grow as it has the advantages of homeschooling had to be large in comparison to the drawbacks. What started out in the late 1980′s as a few hundred children has now turned into 2.04 million homeschooled children.
This list is about the small everyday joys of the homeschooling life. Like a flower arrangement made up of individual blooms so are the humble, heartfelt reasons for homeschooling. These seemingly small reasons are perhaps insignificant as a stand alone. Nevertheless, grouped together over weeks, months and years they arrange together like the beautiful bouquet.
Read what parents have to say concerning the homeschool life…
10 Reasons Why Families Love Homeschooling
1. I’m so happy I get to see the joy on their faces when they have those “Aha” moments when they finally “get” something. I’m right there enjoying those victories with them.
2. Flexibility of schedules. No more rush-here, rush-there mentality. Life is more relaxed and we can enjoy our children.
3. I can buy the best curriculum and I can make an individual learning plan for each child. No more trying to make cookie cutter kids with boring textbooks and rote memorization.
4. I have the privilege of teaching them life lessons because they are here with me to see the good, bad, beautiful and ugly of everyday life. Teachable moments happen much more often than you think.
5. Homeschooled children are very self-motivated and have a passion for education that lasts a lifetime.
6. Our love for books and good literature has been awakened. Our children are avid readers and love to share what they are reading with their friends. We often read together as a family and it is very bonding.
7. The homeschooling culture is a group that loves children and it’s a joy to be around families that consider raising their children a privilege and a blessing rather than a burden.
8. We get to share our faith in a very real and everyday manner with our children. Faith isn’t something you get from simply studying a book, you experience it from everyday examples with people that love you.
9. Teaching children is fun. I am now realizing how much I missed in my public school years. We learn together, we research and discover… together!
10. Field trips and vacations can be scheduled when the public schools are in session. We get off-season bargains and enjoy a less crowded atmosphere wherever we go. Vacations and homeschooling go hand-in-hand.While we have fun we are also learning; geography, history and countless other subjects.
When writing this article I actually received countless “advantages” from those I spoke to. It was hard to narrow them down as there were so many quality submissions. Every family has different reasons to be thankful for homeschooling and the reasons are as numerous as the amount of families involved in home education. Read the rest of this entry »
Change can be tough for anyone, but especially for young children. When it’s time for kids to start kindergarten, many of them are very apprehensive about the unknown and what may lie ahead. When parents watch their five-year-old walk through the school’s front doors for the first time, they may smile broadly and wave goodbye — but they are commonly feeling just as anxious about these changes as their child. Offer these tips to parents to ease the kindergarten transition for everyone, including you.
Talk early, talk often. The time for parents to start talking to their child about kindergarten is not the week before it begins, but months beforehand. Some parents naturally weave in conversations about the school experience during daily activities with their children – almost from birth on – and these children are subsequently much less likely to feel apprehensive about facing their first day of school. When parents view the transition as a natural, positive and expected one, children will, too. While it’s common to feel sad about seeing your child grow up, focus on all the exciting experiences your little one is about to encounter.
Plan ahead. With the beginning of school comes a much busier family schedule. When your child’s teacher sends home a school calendar (and some schools post calendars online), grab a marker and post every relevant event for the entire school year on your family’s calendar. Even kindergarteners have teacher conferences, open houses and field trips. If you plan ahead, you will avoid the disappointment that you – and your child – will feel if you miss an important event because you didn’t remember it or make arrangements to attend.
Create a school binder. Prepare a file to store all of the teacher’s notes, informational letters and other important papers your child will bring home each week and keep it in a convenient place. If you already have a place to put all that paperwork, you will be less apt to lose an important paper that you might need to refer to later. Some things you can store inside your binder include contact information for the school and your child’s teacher, lunch menus, the school handbook and any of your child’s school work you wish to keep. You can also keep copies of medical documents in the binder that your child might need later for sports or other activities. Being organized will reduce household stress, which will also make transitioning less taxing for your kindergartener.
Make known the unknown. If your child hasn’t visited his classroom yet and school will begin before an open house is scheduled, make arrangements for your child to do so. She will feel less anxious if she is familiar with the building and knows where the classroom is. Meeting the teacher is a big help, as well. Knowing what to expect on her first day will help her avoid one of the chief worries of kindergarten – fear of the unknown. And it just might make you feel better, too.
Jennifer Dobson is an early childhood educator and she loves working with children. She invites you to take a look at mpmSchoolSupplies.com, her favorite online store to get teaching supplies. The site offers all kinds of great products including everything from classroom decorations like a bulletin board border to craft materials and teacher resource books. Shop today and save up to 70%!
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