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Exciting News for Students of Education

by Office of Marketing | March 24, 2014
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Professor Marianne Modica, Ph.D., led a committee of professors toward the accreditation of one of our newest programs – Middle Level English Education. This course of study, known formally as Middle Level (4-8): English/Language Arts and Reading, is designed to equip and prepare prospective educators with the content knowledge and pedagogical skills necessary to excel as teachers of middle level (grades 4-8) instruction in public and private schools. Students will have the opportunity to engage in learning experiences that are tailored to the specific characteristics of the adolescent learner, aligned with Pennsylvania academic standards, focused on current theory and best praxis, and supported by a Christian worldview.

“We had to have this approved,” said Dr. Modica, “to make our program competitive. We felt that this was a high priority.”

Dr. Modica is quick to emphasize the fact that our professors work diligently “to create programs that provide students with the opportunity to get a great education for the public arena, that matches up to any public university, and also to have a Christian environment.” She believes that students in this program will be prepared “to go into the public setting in a competitive way.” Maurio adds that schools “are going to get teachers that are better prepared after going through this PDE-approved program.” 

In addition to certification in English education, students with knowledge of other fields will be able to pursue certification in those additional areas. Throughout their 132-credit course of study, students take state-issued exams for general and English/language arts certification. Students in this program must be prepared to teach in both elementary and middle school classrooms, and they are trained as both general educators and specialists. Therefore, science or history skills, for example, may be cultivated to the point of earning additional specialty certification for the middle level through the PDE. According to Dr. Modica, eligible students will “come out with more certification areas if you pass the exams … and that makes you more marketable for jobs.”

So the question remains: Why study middle level English education? “This program,” explains Dr. Modica, “is for people that really appreciate the early adolescent years and gives them the flexibility to teach either in the upper levels of an elementary school or in a middle school.”

Professor Maurio’s familiar adage, “The classroom is a mission field,” also sheds light on the “Why study middle level English education?” question. In a time of psychological transition and change, “what early adolescents need most is to be loved; they need to be valued; they need to know that they have individual significance,” states Maurio. She also asserts the need for middle level youth to develop their voice, which requires, according to her, a foundation based on morals and asks, “Who better to help lay this moral groundwork than a follower of Christ?”

With a growing need for qualified middle level teachers in both the private and public sector, the College has a wonderful opportunity to send excellent teachers of faith to help support the next generation. In light of this, VFCC is thrilled to offer a major in English education for grades 4-8. Students here will be trained thoroughly and rigorously to become the most qualified educators.