The Undergraduate Teacher Education Program was approved by the Collegiate Faculty in the Spring of 1980. The first graduating class was in May 1982. In June of the same year, the program was given State Approval from the District of Columbia Public Schools to ensure that graduates of the program could qualify for licensure in the District of Columbia and in the other states with whom the District has an inter-state reciprocity agreement for teacher certification. In the Spring of 1984, the program was accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Educators (NCATE) for the first time. Re-accreditation of the program has occurred in 1987, 1992 and 1997.
Since 1980, the program has grown and evolved in response to the needs of students, schools, and reforms in teacher education. We currently offer degrees and licensure in Early Childhood and Elementary Education along with a certification program in five Secondary Education subject areas: English, Math, Physical Education, Science and Social Studies. Each of these programs include course work in psychology, human development, instructional development, teaching methods, curriculum, and supervised practicum experiences, including student teaching in nearby schools using a regular education curriculum for hearing students. Students whose professional goal is to teach deaf and hard of hearing students will typically pursue this study at the master's degree level upon completion of their general education bachelor's degree.
The student teaching practicum experience is the capstone experience of the program and represents an innovation in the field of teacher education because deaf students are working with hearing students and hearing cooperating teachers in regular education school classrooms.
During the Fall semester of the student's final undergraduate year, several experiences take place to prepare students and the public school personnel and children for the full-time student teaching experience, which begins in January (see section on Student Teaching). Earlier opportunities for classroom observations and aiding experiences are provided for via introductory and professional education courses. Students are encouraged to consider additional opportunities for working with children and adolescents through internships provided by the Experiential Programs Off Campus (EPOC) program under the Career Center.
We continue to strive for excellence in our programs. Our graduates receive a firm foundation in regular teacher education on which to base further studies in Deaf Education. Gallaudet University and the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program are committed to innovation and excellence so that we can provide future deaf and hard of hearing children with the very best prepared teachers in the nation!