Education and the study of learning touch every aspect of human activity. At the Smith College Department of Education and Child Study, we believe teaching and the study of how people learn are central to the health and future of our rapidly changing and diverse society. Preparing for a teaching career is foremost among the reasons for studying education, but it can also be an important foundation for other fields, such as history, science, literature, business and counseling.
Since 1871, Smith College has been preparing teachers and educational leaders who understand what it takes to create classrooms where students learn to engage their world critically, imaginatively and reflectively. Alumni, faculty and students work on one of the most pressing social and human questions of our time: How can educators create settings where people can learn and flourish?
- Understand the field of education from an array of disciplinary perspectives, i.e., philosophical, historical, sociological, psychological, statistical and ethical.
- Understand the role of cultural and human diversity in the design and practice of education.
- Understand current theories of learning and how they shape principles of pedagogical practice across ages and subject matter.
- Understand current theories of human development, from infancy through adolescence.
- Understand the major factors that influence the design of learning environments.
- Understand how education policy is shaped and how to change educational practice.
- Develop applied and practical knowledge and skill to support the growth and success of beginning teachers. (These learning goals are elaborated in the description of our state approved teacher preparation programs.)
Students who major in education and child study design their program in consultation with their adviser.
All major programs consist of 10 semester courses selected in consultation with the major adviser; these will usually consist of:
- two courses in foundations
- two courses in learners and the learning process
- one course in curriculum and instruction
- senior colloquium EDC 340, taken during the senior year
- Additional courses, one of which must be an advanced course
*Additional courses are selected to best match the student's goals and interests.
Students who are preparing to meet licensure requirements must design their major program so that it includes the prescribed set of courses and experiences described in Initial Licensure Requirements.
If you have questions about the major, please contact department chair Sam Intrator.
A minor in education and child study consists of six semester courses chosen in consultation with an adviser in the Department of Education and Child Study.
Many students, in consultation with their adviser, design a minor program that is tailored to their goals and interests. Students can meet minor requirements and also meet the requirements for teacher licensure.
Foundations (social, cultural, historical and philosophical perspectives)
- EDC 110 Introduction to American Education
- EDC 200 Education in the City
- EDC 201 Case Study of Education in Western Massachusetts
- EDC 222 Philosophy of Education
- EDC 226 The Making of a School
- EDC 232 The American Middle School and High School
- EDC 237 Comparative Education
- EDC 239 Counseling Theory and Education
- EDC 331 The Stories Children Tell
- EDC 341 The Child in Modern Society
- EDC 342 Growing Up American: Adolescents and Their Educational Institutions
- EDC 552 Perspectives on American Education
- EDC 572 The Deaf Child: 0–5 Years
- MUX 118 The History and Critical Issues of Museums
- FYS 184 Educating Women: A History and Sociology, at Home and Abroad
- SOC 226 Sociological Perspectives on Power and Privilege in American Education
- SOC 317 Seminar: Inequality in Higher Education
Learners and the Learning Process
- EDC 235 Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
- EDC 238 Introduction to the Learning Sciences
- EDC 240 How Do We Know What Students Are Learning?
- EDC 548 Student Diversity and Classroom Teaching
- EDC 554 Knowing, Thinking, and the Design of Learning Environments
Curriculum and Instruction
- EDC 206 Statistical Literacy in Educational Research and Policy
- EDC 231 Foundations and Issues of Early Childhood Education
- EDC 311 Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners
- EDC 338 Children Learning to Read
- EDC 343 Multicultural Education
- EDC 345D Elementary Curriculum and Methods
- EDC 346 Clinical Internship in Teaching
- EDC 347 Individual Differences Among Learners
- EDC 352 Methods of Instruction
- EDC 390 Colloquium: The Teaching of Science, Engineering and Technology
- EDC 511 Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners
- EDC 556 Learning in Classrooms
- EDC 559 Clinical Internship in Teaching
- HST 390 Seminar: Teaching History
- ENG 399 Teaching Literature
Special Studies and Honors
- EDC 400 Special Studies
- EDC 432D Honors Project
- EDC 580 Advanced Studies
EDC 340 Historical and Philosophical Perspectives and the Educative Process
Several courses that are required for teacher licensure have a prepracticum requirement. Students work in a school or community-based learning organization for three to four hours per week, and may be asked to tutor to fulfill this requirement and gain practice as a teacher.
Students will reflect on the topics covered in the corresponding course, possibly write journals or reflection papers regarding your time there and get an introduction to different learning environments.
We use the local area public and private schools, such as the Smith College Campus School, as well as community-based learning sites, such as the ESL program at the Jones Library and Homework House in Holyoke.
Obtaining Your Teaching License
Smith College is an approved licensure provider in the state of Massachusetts. The license you earn in Massachusetts may transfer to other states, although additional requirements may exist.
Smith offers the following licenses to undergraduates:
Elementary, grades 1-6
Middle School Humanities, grades 5-8
Middle School Math/Science, grades 5-8
English, grades 5-12
History, grades 5-12
Biology, grades 8-12
Mathematics, grades 8-12
Physics, grades 8-12
Create an ELAR Profile
We encourage students to create an ELAR (Educator Licensure and Recruitment) profile early in the program to track your progress. Having a profile during the program will help you keep track of any remaining requirements.
Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)
It is advised that students take the Communication & Literacy Skills MTEL test as early as possible in the teacher licensure program. You should also plan ahead to ensure that you leave adequate time to complete subject-related tests.
Additional Tests for Elementary Level
For those students wanting to teach in the elementary level, you also need to take the Foundations of Reading MTEL during or just after EDC 338 Children Learning to Read. You will also need to take the General Curriculum Test, which has a math subtest and a multisubject subtest. Check the Spinelli Center website for math workshops to help you prepare for the math subtest.
Additional Tests for Secondary Level
Students pursuing secondary teaching licenses also need to take the MTEL for their subject areas.We suggest you take this test right after you complete your content courses.
We hold a preparation workshop for the Communication & Literacy Test each fall and spring. Contact Gina Wyman for more information.
If you have questions about the licensure program, please contact Gina Wyman.
Smith College offers Massachusetts initial licenses to undergraduate students. If you are interested in pursuing a teaching license, please contact Gina Wyman to schedule a meeting. Please bring an unofficial transcript.
Candidates must complete the following in order to obtain an initial license to teach in Massachusetts:
Candidates seeking elementary-level licensure—to teach first through sixth grade—must have the following:
- A bachelor’s degree with a major in education and child study and/or a major in another liberal arts or science discipline.
- Subject matter coursework in English (including literature, writing, and non-fiction texts), mathematics (must equal 9 credits), history (must include U.S. history and the study of a non-western culture), and laboratory science.
- The following professional knowledge requirements: EDC 235, EDC 238, EDC 338, EDC 347, EDC 311 (or 211) and EDC 345.
- Student-teaching experiences for both semesters of senior year. Students teach a minimum of 13.5 hours a week, most likely in two different schools and at two different grade levels.
- Passed the following MTEL exams: Communication and Literacy Skills (including reading and writing subtests), Foundations of Reading, Elementary General Curriculum (including mathematics and multisubject subtests).
Secondary-Level Licensure Requirements
Candidates seeking secondary-level licensure—to teach in middle and high school—must have:
- A bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences with a major in the area of the license you seek; choose from biology, physics, English, history, math, humanities (middle-school level only) and math and science (middle-school level only).
- The following professional knowledge requirements: EDC 232, EDC 238, EDC 342, EDC 347, EDC 352, EDC 311 (or 211) and EDC 346 (student teaching).
- Student-teaching full-time during the spring semester of senior year.
- Passed the following MTEL exams: Communication and Literacy Skills (including reading and writing subtests), as well as the appropriate subject-matter test.
Visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for more information on how to prepare and register for Massachusetts Tests for Education Licensure (MTELs).
Students teachers at the elementary level complete their teaching practicum over the course of two semesters. They teach a minimum of three consecutive mornings per week, usually from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., following the schedule of the school where they are placed. They must meet weekly with their cooperating teacher to plan instruction and discuss curriculum.
Eligible candidates for the elementary educator licensure program must:
- Show appropriate progress in the program of study toward elementary educator licensure.
- Have successfully completed or are currently enrolled in three education and child study courses, including EDC 235 Child and Adolescent Growth and Development.
- Have earned grades of B- or better in all education and child study courses.
- Have a 3.0 grade point average.
- Meet with their department adviser or coordinator of teacher education to review progress toward elementary licensure.
Applications due March 8, 2019
Students teachers at the middle and secondary level complete their teaching practicum in one semester. They teach daily, usually from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., following the schedule of the school where they are placed. They are encouraged to stay after school, on occasion, to meet with their cooperating teacher, work with their students, and attend school meetings and professional development training sessions.
Due to the demands of student teaching, students are encouraged to take only three courses during their student teaching semester:
- EDC 346 Clinical Internship
- EDC 352 Student Teaching Seminar
- A teaching course appropriate to the student’s desired subject or another course that does not conflict with the student teaching schedule
Eligible candidates for the secondary educator licensure program must:
- Show appropriate progress in the program of study toward secondary educator licensure.
- Have successfully completed or are currently enrolled in three education and child study courses, including EDC 211 or 311 Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners.
- Have earned grades of B- or better in all education and child study courses.
- Have a 3.0 grade point average.
- Meet with their department adviser or coordinator of teacher education to review progress toward secondary licensure.
Applications due March 8, 2019
Robert Bonneau received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and his master’s in literature from Wesleyan University. He taught at Northampton High School from 1969 to 2004.
Since 2004, Bonneau has been working with student teachers as a program supervisor at Smith. He has also coordinated the Secondary Teacher Education Program at Smith.
Riemer currently teaches at Shutesbury Elementary School. She is an artist and photographer.
After moving to Massachusetts in 2015, Walsh spent two years as a curriculum coordinator at a PK–Grade 6 school. In 2017, she began mentoring student teachers at Smith College and teaching as an adjunct instructor for the master of arts in teaching program at Mount Holyoke College. She became the urban education pathway coordinator at Smith in the fall of 2018.
Master of Arts in Teaching
Smith College offers a master of arts in teaching degree for those pursuing teaching in elementary, middle or high schools as well as for students wishing to do advanced study in the field of education.
Resources & Partners
The Campus School of Smith College, founded in 1926, is the laboratory school for the Department of Education and Child Study at Smith College. Located at Gill Hall, the school serves children from kindergarten through sixth grade, with two classes at each grade level. The education of teachers was a stipulation in the will of Smith’s founder, Sophia Smith. Through the Campus School, students have many opportunities to work closely with faculty in a variety of real-world research and school-based projects, in addition to teacher training.
The Urban Education Initiative is an innovative service learning program designed to prepare students to meet the crucial task of improving the quality of America's public schools. The initiative offers two programs: The Urban Education Pathway gives students real-world experience in New York City, Boston, Springfield, Chicago and other urban environments. The Project Coach program brings together Smith College undergraduate and graduate students to inspire and prepare Springfield teenagers to develop the capacity to be great coaches and mentors.
Learn more about the Urban Education Initiative programs on the Jandon Center website.
Smith College collaborates with the broader community on a wide variety of learning opportunities for both children and adults. Smith students can gain real-world teaching skills while delving more deeply into science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.
Learn more about Smith’s variety of STEM Outreach programs on the Jandon Center website.
One of the most important components of Smith’s education programs is clinical experience. The department strives to ensure that students work with the most talented master teachers at area public, private and charter schools. Some of the districts where we place student teachers, depending on their professional goals, include: