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Elementary Education (2002-2003)

Admission | Certificates | Courses | Program | Requirements

Department Chairperson: Kathy Barclay
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Angela Ferree
Department Office: Horrabin Hall 58
Department Telephone: 309/298-1961 Fax: 309/298-2800
WWW Address:
Location of Program Offering: Macomb, Quad Cities

Graduate Faculty

  • Professors
    • Kathy Barclay, Ed.D., Northwestern State University
    • John B. Beaver, Ph.D., Michigan State University
    • Cecelia Benelli, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
    • Pamela Terry Godt, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
    • Patricia Hutinger, Ed.D., Indiana University
    • Robert H. Lombard, Ed.D., Indiana University
    • Donald T. Powers, Ph.D., Kansas State University
  • Associate Professors
    • Nancy L. Chu, M.A.L.S., University of Iowa
    • Cindy J. Dooley, Ph.D., University of Iowa
    • Angela M. Ferree, Ph.D., University of Texas–Austin
    • Frederick C. Isele, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
    • Sara D. Simonson, Ph.D., University of Iowa
    • Barry L. Witten, Ph.D., Kansas State University
    • Jean M. Wolf, Ph.D., University of Illinois
  • Assistant Professors
    • Doug Dixon, Ph.D., University of Georgia
    • Barbara R. Sandall, Ed.D., Illinois State University

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Assistant Professors
    • Laurel Borgia, Ph.D., University of Illinois–Urbana/Champaign
    • Marie Cheak, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University–Carbondale
    • LaVerne K. Logan, Ph.D., University of Iowa
    • Frances A. Steward, Ph.D., Louisiana State University
  • Instructors
    • Elizabeth Hommel, M.S.Ed., Western Illinois University
    • Deborah Horack, M.Ed., Southeastern University
    • Phillip R. Murphy, Ed. Spec., Western Illinois University

Program Description

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers work leading to a Master of Science in Education with a major in elementary education. The degree program enables candidates to develop an area of specialization in language and literature, science, mathematics, social studies, early childhood education, or a multidisciplinary area (a combination of courses from the other specializations).

Admission Requirements

  1. Admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
  2. Cumulative GPA of 2.75.
  3. Graduate Record Examination not required.
  4. Acceptance by the Departmental Graduate Committee.
  5. All persons applying for entry into the master’s degree programs in elementary education or reading who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate program leading to teacher certification from an accredited college or university must have an interview with the Departmental Graduate Committee or its designee. That interview will provide a basis for acceptance or nonacceptance of the applicant into the program.
  6. Applicants are advised that completion of the graduate program in elementary education will not necessarily lead to teacher certification. Questions concerning certification should be directed to the University certification officer.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 or 33 semester hours is required for the M.S.Ed. degree in Elementary Education, which includes a choice of two exit options.

Courses graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis cannot be included on a degree plan. A degree plan may contain the following courses as electives only and any combination of these courses may not exceed six semester hours:

  • C&I 599 Independent Study (4 s.h. maximum)
  • ELED 450G Professional Workshop
  • ELED 475G Untitled
  • ELED 675 Untitled
  • RDG 450G Professional Workshop
  • RDG 475G Untitled
  • RDG 550 Professional Workshop in Reading
  • RDG 599 Independent Study
  • MATH 599 Special Topics (4 s.h. maximum)

Core Requirements: 27-28 s.h.

  • EIS 500 Methods of Research: 3 s.h.
  • Two of the following, with approval of the adviser: 6 s.h.
    • ELED 560 Seminar in Elementary Education
    • ELED 566 Recent Trends and Research in Elementary Education
      or the following two courses for those specializing in early childhood education:
    • ECH 474G Early Childhood Assessment
    • ECH 539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
  • Directed Electives (select from the following): 3-4 s.h.
    • EIS 501 Philosophy of Education
    • EIS 503 Educational Statistics
    • EIS 523 Advanced Measurement and Evaluation
    • CN 444G Counseling Children
    • SPED 510 The Exceptional Child
    • C&I 403G Middle Level Education
    • C&I 476G Parent/Community Involvement
    • ECH 571 Theory and Function of Play
    • GFT 582 Instructional Strategies and Curriculum for Gifted Students
    • ITT 516 Internet Resources for Education and Training
    • ITT 520 Microcomputer Applications in Education
  • Area of Specialization: 12 s.h.
    The areas of specialization are language and literature, social studies, science, early childhood education, mathematics, and multidisciplinary studies. Courses for the specialization and electives will be chosen with the approval of an adviser. ECH 565, Seminar in Early Childhood Education is a required course for the early childhood area of specialization.
  • Elective: 3 s.h.

Select one of the following exit options:

  • Exit Option I (select one course): 3 - 4 s.h.
    • C&I 600 Graduate Seminar (3)
    • ECH 603 Research in Early Childhood Education I (3-4)
    • MATH 607 Practicum in Mathematics Education (3)
    • SCED 602 Practicum in Science Education (3)
  • Exit Option II: 6 s.h.
    • C&I 605 Leadership in Elementary Education (3)
    • Select one additional course from an area of specialization or approved list of Directed Electives (3)

TOTAL PROGRAM: 30 or 33 s.h.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

The department offers post-baccalaureate certificates in Early Childhood, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. For program details, please go to

Course Descriptions

Curriculum and Instruction

403G Middle Level Education. (4) Philosophical development of the middle school will be analyzed as well as the advisory role of the middle school teacher for health and social services. Developmentally appropriate curriculum and instructional methods including content area reading instruction and techniques for blending subject matter content relevant to the early adolescent are provided.

476G Parent/Community Involvement. (3) Techniques for working with and involving families/communities, including conferencing skills, newsletters, home visits, parent education, volunteers, meetings, and other ways to develop open communication and parental and community support. A minimum grade of C is required of teacher education students. Restricted: departmental permission.

506 Research in Elementary and Middle Level Education. (3) A review of readings, techniques, and research designs in elementary and middle level education with emphasis on preparation for capstone practica courses.

533 Special Problems in Elementary, Middle, and Junior High Education. (1–4, repeatable) Designed to provide a group of students an opportunity for further professional growth and to apply problem-solving approaches in dealing with a specific educational problem in an actual school setting. Graded S/U.

590-591 Field Study Projects. (1-3) Extensive readings, observations, and interpretations of education systems in the United States and selected foreign countries. Prerequisites: Permission of the student’s adviser and the Departmental Graduate Committee.

599 Independent Study. (1–4, repeatable to 4) An investigation of problems related to the student's major area. A substantial written report, as well as an informal oral report, will be required. Students will meet regularly with an instructor during the course on a period arranged basis. Enrollment by permission only.

600 Graduate Seminar. (3) Elementary, middle, and junior high school education. Primarily a research-writing courses. Each student will be expected to identify an appropriate research problem and write a report in an acceptable form. Prerequisite: 24 semester hours in graduate work or permission of the instructor.

605 Leadership in Elementary Education. (3) This capstone course focuses on the issue of the master’s degree student as an instructional leader in his or her school, going beyond the roll of classroom teacher. Key issues concern the philosophy related to specific areas of specialization, action research, and engaging in leadership activities. Prerequisites: 22 hours of course work applicable to the M.S.Ed. With a major in Elementary Education.

679 Overseas Study. (1–9, repeatable to 18) Course work undertaken as part of approved University overseas study program. Prerequisite: Approval of Study Abroad Coordinator and Department Chairperson.

Early Childhood Education

474G Early Childhood Assessment. (3) Intensive investigation of informal and formal assessment strategies including basic principles of measurement and evaluation, to plan educational experiences, communicate with parents, identify children in need of specialized services, and evaluate programs for young children from birth through eight years of age. The administration of some assessment instruments is required. Restricted: early childhood program or departmental permission.

519 The Young Child: Learning with Technology. (3) The course provides an in-depth examination of technological applications with young children from birth to six including children with special needs. Practical experience includes strategies for selection and use of a wide range of technological advances including computer hardware, peripherals, adaptive devices, software, and techniques for integrating technology into the early childhood curriculum. Prerequisites: Background in early childhood education and ITT 509 or equivalent or permission of the instructor.

524 Intervention Techniques in Early Childhood Education. (3) The course focuses on developing an understanding of early intervention systems designed to support families with young children with special needs. Students will examine how early childhood program objectives, family support networks, community resources, various agencies, and funding resources work together to create a support system for families. Students will locate resources within local communities, engage in grant writing, and work toward making changes in current practices.

539 Curriculum in Early Childhood Education. (3) Application of the principles of the administration and organization of curriculum development to programs for young children, with emphasis on integration of curriculum to maximize the effectiveness of experiences. The student will develop curriculum plans in selected content areas.

549 Practicum in Early Childhood Education. (1–4) Students will work with young children in selected early childhood settings under supervision of a "master teacher," with emphasis on bridging the gap between theory and practice. Actual experiences will be provided along with philosophical and/or psychological foundations for the basic practices within the various early childhood education programs and activities. Credit will be arranged according to the experiential background of the student. Prerequisite: Permission of the adviser.

564 Language and Thought of the Child. (3) A detailed study of current theoretical issues and positions related to the young child's development and use of language and thought. Emphasis on current issues in language acquisition as well as systematic analysis of potential application of various practices for inclusion in early childhood programs.

565 Seminar in Early Childhood Education. (3) Advanced study of the historical, philosophical, and theoretical influences on the field of early childhood education, as well as exploration of current research, issues, and trends. Students will write an in-depth research paper as means of extending and developing knowledge and understanding of course content.

571 Theory and Function of Play. (3) Students will engage in a detailed study of theoretical and practical positions regarding development of young children, birth through age eight. The emphasis will be on play as a process for learning and for teaching. Observations of children and application of course content to teaching practices are required.

573 Infancy and Childhood Education. (3) An in-depth study of the developmental and theoretical basis of infancy and early childhood education for young children from birth through eight years of age. Typical and atypical development and the contributions of prenatal and home care, ethnicity, race, and other aspects of diversity to children’s learning and development will be explored. Emphasizes application of child development knowledge in early childhood settings.

574 Integrated Learning in Early Childhood Education. (3) In-depth study of the theoretical basis for integrated learning and teaching, and of several approaches for integrating curricular areas: language arts, math, science, social studies, art, and music. The value of curricular integration in meeting the needs of diverse learners will be addressed. Students will explore methods and materials for integrating technological and multimedia materials into the early childhood curriculum.

603 Research in Early Childhood Education I. (3–4) In-depth documentation of knowledge gained through the graduate program leading to application to classroom teaching and the early childhood profession. Credit will be arranged with the instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of the adviser.

Elementary Education

450G Professional Workshop. (1–3) An inservice course for teachers.

560 Seminar in Elementary Curriculum. (3) An exploration of the curriculum at elementary and middle levels, including the role of the classroom teacher in curriculum development, dynamics of curriculum change and school improvement, factors that influence curriculum decisions, and alternative and innovative ways to approach problems and entertain solutions for improving teaching and leaning.

566 Recent Trends and Research in Elementary Education. (3) A review and appraisal of recent trends and practices in elementary education. An examination of recent research done in elementary education and related fields. In addition, course content will directly address the importance of practicing teachers assuming leadership roles in various settings. School leadership research and developments with national and state standards will be examined. Students are expected to read widely and critically in professional books and journals.

Gifted Education

569 Developing Creative and Critical Thinking Skills. (3) Emphasizes cognitive approaches to creativity, the teaching of specific creative and critical thinking techniques, and the integration of creative and critical thinking skills, problem-finding processes, and problem-solving processes within the content areas.

581 Psychology of Giftedness. (3) An in-depth study of the nature of giftedness, factors that influence the development of giftedness, unique problems and concomitant needs of gifted individuals, and techniques and methods for enhancing the development of gifted behaviors. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

582 Instructional Strategies and Curriculum for Gifted Students. (3) Focuses on the development of a differentiated curriculum for gifted students through the examination of specific content, process, and product modifications in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, and the fine arts. Emphasizes the selection and implementation of appropriate instructional strategies, methods, and materials.

583 Comprehensive Gifted Program Development and Administration. (3) Examines systems for identifying gifted, talented, and creative students and assessing their progress in differentiated programs. Models for creating, implementing, administering, and evaluating comprehensive programs, services, and curriculum that reflects the unique needs of these students are emphasized.

584 Language Arts and Reading for the Gifted. (3) Presents differentiated instructional strategies and appropriately challenging materials for the gifted in the area of language arts and reading. The focus of the courses is on the role of the classroom teacher in adapting the regular curriculum to meet the needs of the gifted. Attention will be given to the selection and evaluation of materials, the implementation of special writing and literature programs and the use of independent research projects in language arts.

589 Practicum in Teaching the Gifted in the Content Areas. (1–3) Provides field experiences with gifted students in language arts, reading, science, social studies, and mathematics. Enrollees are placed in a variety of settings including public and private schools, and University and community based programs. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

Language Arts

567 Teaching Language Arts in the Elementary School. (3) This course considers the scope and nature of an adequate program of instruction in the language arts from kindergarten through the sixth grade. Primary emphasis is placed on the identification of skills to be taught and methods and materials to be used in the teaching of composition, grammar and usage, listening, spelling, and handwriting.

577 Writing in the Elementary Schools. (3) Designed to give exposure to a variety of methods and materials for using a process approach to writing instruction in the elementary school.

578 Language Arts for Diverse Learners. (3) A course which focuses on language, learning, and the diagnostic and corrective techniques that can be used by the elementary classroom teacher in the areas of oral and written language, spelling, handwriting, and listening. Prerequisites: LA567 or permission of the instructor.

Literature and Language Arts

443G Creative Uses of Literature for Children and Young Adults. (3) Presents the development of effective programs in informal and formalized interpretive experiences for children and young adults, emphasizing individual creativity and sources for materials. Prerequisite: LLA 313 or permission of the instructor.

513 Advanced Children's Literature. (3) Evaluation, selection, and use of all types of literature based on children's interests, needs and learning ability that are found in elementary school library media centers. Discussion of historical development, problems, and trends in children's literature. Prerequisite: LLA 313 or permission of the instructor.

523 Advanced Literature for Young Adults. (3) Evaluation, selection, and use of library materials designed for or appropriate to the needs, interests, and learning abilities of young adults (grades 7-12). Discussion of historical development, problems, and trends in literature for young adults. Prerequisite: LLA 433 or permission of the instructor.

533 Issues in Young Adult and Children’s Literature. (1–3 repeatable) Designed to provide students with an opportunity for further professional growth in literature and topics related to its evaluation and usage. (Degree candidates may receive credit on degree programs only with the permission of the appropriate departmental committee and student's adviser.) Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Mathematics (See Mathematics)

Science Education

489G Energy Education for Elementary Teachers. (3) Provides content information on basic energy concepts and how to teach them to elementary students. Topics include forms and sources of energy, renewable and nonrenewable energy, changes in energy forms, and energy conservation. Energy curricula will be examined through presentations and laboratory-based activity formats. Prerequisite: Senior standing or bachelor's degree.

490G Environmental Science Education for Elementary Teachers. (3) Provides teachers with background information related to various environmental concepts and issues through numerous activities, including field trips. Topics include map and compass reading, forests, woodlands, ponds, wetlands, rivers, predator/prey relationships, rocks, tree identification, and minerals, water quality testing, and weather.

491G Biological Science for Elementary Teachers. (3) Designed to strengthen teachers’ biological science background. Emphasis is on life science concepts from contemporary elementary curricula, stressing direct experience in laboratory activities. Topics include plant growth, development, physiology, propagation, and classification; microscope work, animal activity, microscopic organisms, human biology, and outdoor biology.

492G Physical Science for Elementary Teachers. (3) Designed to help elementary teachers strengthen their understanding of physical science. Course topics include chemistry, energy, force, heat, light, magnetism, matter, motion, and sound. Students will explore concepts through discussion and laboratory-based activities from classic and contemporary science curricula.

505 Science: An Inquiry Approach. (3) This course is designed to help educators learn and better understand inquiry as an instructional approach. Topics include what inquiry is, how to conduct inquiry, and ways to teach inquiry processes and skills to students, particularly those in upper elementary and middle level grades. The course will involve identifying and conducting an inquiry investigation into some science topic. Prerequisites: SCED 364 or equivalent and graduate standing.

507 Science in the Early Childhood Classroom. (3) This course is designed around a constructivist approach to early childhood science education (preschool-grade 3). The focus of this course is on children - how they experience the world, interact with each other, pose questions and problems, and construct knowledge. Topics will include integrated and thematic curriculum representing the life, earth, physical, and environmental sciences. Current research related to the brain and children’s thinking, and curriculum models dealing with modeling, role playing, cooperative play, and the culture of the early childhood classroom will be emphasized. Alternative assessment models for the early childhood science classroom will also be examined. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

559 Teaching Earth Science in the Elementary School. (3) This course provides elementary and middle level school teachers with basic content and methodology from contemporary elementary science programs to strengthen their teaching of earth science. Basic content topics will include astronomy, geology, hydrology, meteorology, and oceanology. Background information and methodology will be presented by using content as a vehicle in lectures, demonstrations, experiments, and group activities which will help teachers develop skills in working with equipment and materials, and to help them better understand appropriate instructional strategies in earth science for children at different grade levels.

561 Measurement in Elementary Science. (3) Emphasis will be placed on techniques of measurement development in contemporary elementary science curricula. An activity-centered approach will provide students with an opportunity to develop systems of measurements, calibrate simple measuring devices, and design measurement projects suitable for use in an elementary science program. The introduction and use of the metric system in the elementary school will be stressed.

562 Science Curriculum in the Elementary School. (3) An analysis of the latest curriculum innovations in elementary science education, and the application of recent discoveries in learning theory to the teaching of elementary science. Emphasis will be placed on the development of a contemporary philosophy of elementary science and its contribution to the total science program.

602 Practicum in Science Education. (3) Direct internship experience in a science education program at the local district level under the guidance of a qualified field representative. Enrollment by permission only.

Social Science Education

439G Secondary Social Science Methods. (3) Designed to aid the prospective secondary social studies teacher to develop objectives, to select and organize content, to use various techniques, and to evaluate learning. See other 439 listings under academic areas. These are special methods courses and carry education credit. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and permission of instructor.

493G Teaching Social Studies for Involvement: Simulation Games and Activities. (3) Deals with the use and design of simulation games and activities that can be used to increase the involvement of students in the learning process. Prerequisite: SSED 365 or 439.

494G Teaching Social Studies for Environmental Understanding. (3) Focuses on human interaction with the environment, using the school and community as a "real life" setting.

496G Teaching Social Studies for an Understanding of Legal Concepts. (3) Deals with legal concepts and issues necessary for citizenship education.

550 Workshop in Current Developments in Teaching Social Studies. (1-3, repeatable to 3) Explores current content, techniques, media, and information technology for teaching social studies in school settings. Students will adapt course topics for use in their own classrooms.

568 Improvement of Instruction in Social Studies. (3) This course deals with current developments in techniques, materials and technology for teaching social studies. Explores ways to engage students in social science instruction.

572 Social Studies Curriculum. (3) This course deals with the nature of social studies and its role in the school curriculum. Emphasis is placed on current curriculum developments in social studies and the social sciences.

595 Teaching Social Studies for Global Understanding. (3) Develops the conceptual base for teaching the understanding of global connections including those dealing with social, environmental, economic, technological, and individual cultural dimensions. Field component required. Prerequisite: SSED 365 or 439.

Western Illinois University.

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