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Secondary Education (Second Major Only)

The School of Education (SOE) Undergraduate Teacher Education licensure program prepares students for teaching positions in a variety of PK-12 public, charter, parochial and private school settings. The program blends theory and pedagogy with applied skills to ensure that students are equipped to maximize learning and achievement outcomes for PK-12 students. In each course students are exposed to relevant and rigorous curriculum that advances high leverage teaching practices and culturally responsive pedagogical practices. 

The Teacher Education Program offers a number of distinct benefits. As a SOE student you will: 

  • work side by side with outstanding faculty in small, individual-focused classes that stress experiential learning
  • participate in practicum and student-teaching experiences in DC, Maryland, and Virginia schools
  • qualify for DC licensure with reciprocity in 47 states
  • enter a field projected by the US Labor Department to need 1.9 million new hires in the decade ending 2024
  • join a network of well-connected alums and faculty in a vibrant community of young professionals passionate about improving the world

Through our coursework and clinical experiences, AU SOE students build their skills and understandings to become excellent effective practitioners. Our graduates are able to:

  • apply cognitive science principles of learning to their teaching practice (Science of Learning)
  • create unit and lesson plans aligned with content standards, implement instructional strategies rooted in research-based best practices that advance classroom equity, and implement assessments to inform and impact instructional decisions for learner success. (Cycle of Teaching and Learning)
  • create and sustain learning communities that support all students to meet their full academic, social, and emotional potentials by teaching related skills and recognizing students’ assets/contributions. (Inclusive Environment)
  • demonstrate a recognition of the beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices along with the structures, policies, and institutional systems that create barriers and perpetuate inequities in classrooms and identify concrete strategies to dismantle those barriers. (Antiracist Education)
  • identify effective strategies to build relationships with students, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to positively impact student success. (Collaboration)
  • demonstrate ongoing professional development, analysis of teaching practice, and reflection on the evidence of teaching and learning to equitably meets the needs of all students and families. (Professional Practice)

AU SOE pre-service teachers focus on their students’ learning. Students are trained to utilize the High Leverage Teaching Practices through simulation and application in their coursework and their clinical experiences. These practices build our pre-service teachers “tool box” to effectively implement instruction.  

At AU we take these practices even deeper with the Learning by Scientific Design principles, in collaboration with the Deans for Impact. In their final semester, our student teachers develop a portfolio of their practice and its impact on student learning: the edTPA. This performance assessment engages our pre-service teachers in deep professional reflection about their support for all of their students’ content learning through an asset lens and research based best practices.

The program prepares graduates for teaching and leadership positions in the following settings:

  • K-12 Schools
  • Technical Schools
  • Adult Schools
  • Educational Agencies
  • School District Offices

Drew Klein, BA Elementary Education

Drew KleinThe School of Education at American University prepared me to become a classroom teacher. From the professors to my peers in the Elementary Education Program, I found the support I needed. The program was relevant and taught us how to become the best teachers we can be for our future diverse classroom of students. At AU, I had the opportunity to intern at The LAB School of Washington and Marie Reed Elementary School. These different experiences led me to find my true passion for teaching and interest in working with English language learners. After graduation, I will be staying at American University for a fifth-year Master's program to become an English as a Second Language Teacher. At American University, you will find a close-knit community in the School of Education that will guide you throughout your program of study. I am very happy that I chose AU and I look forward to my next year in graduate school.

Amanda Liberman, BA Elementary Education

Amanda LibermanThe highlight of the Undergraduate Elementary Education program was completing my student-teaching experience. I was able to work in an excellent school and gain valuable experience planning and executing lessons. While student teaching, I was also able to partake in the Student Teaching Seminar course. This allowed me to reflect on my practice and collaborate with the members of my cohort. Overall, this immersive classroom experience was both valuable in my teacher education and enjoyable. I will take what I learned as a student-teacher at American University with me next year, as I start teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools.

The Learning by Scientific Design Network is a collaborative of educator-preparation programs working to ensure future teachers understand basic principles of learning science and how to employ the principles when they teach.

Throughout your four years as an AU teacher education student you will build critical understandings of antiracist pedagogy. This will be accomplished through an intentional and reflective sequencing of courses that embed antiracist theories, practices and understandings throughout your coursework and clinical experiences.

In Spring 2021 Dr. Traci Dennis designed and taught a course titled Introduction to Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Theories, Practice and Research.This course serves as an introduction to antiracist knowledges, literacies, and capacities. Students learn about theories and research behind anti-racist pedagogy and antiracist practices, conduct historical and cultural investigations of racism and the development of racial identity and critically examine and discuss the role race has played, and continues to play, in structuring inequities in schools. Students also interrogate their own racial identity and examine their expectations, beliefs, assumptions and stereotypes about students with ascribed marginalized identities.

Beginning in Fall 2022, undergraduate teacher education candidates will be able to complete a four course sequence in order to graduate with not only a teaching license but also an antiracist teaching certificate. The goal of the new courses will be to ensure that as future educators, our teacher candidates are able to operationalize antiracism in their schools, classrooms and communities. 

The future four course sequence is below:

  • Course 1: Race and Racism (first year)
  • Course 2: Social Justice and Urban Education (second year)

  • Course 3: Introduction to Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Theories, Practice and Research (junior year)
  • Course 4: Anti-Racist Activism in Education (senior year)

The four-course sequence will enable SOE graduates to embrace and embody the six pillars of Antiracist Educators which are:

  1. Engaging in ongoing critical self-reflection/self interrogation
  2. Understanding antiracist pedagogy theories, practices and research
  3. Integrating marginalized voices, perspectives, knowledges and epistemologies
  4. Validating and affirming community knowledge systems
  5. Linking theory, research and practice
  6. Building and transforming relationships through relational accountability

 Being an antiraciast requests persistent awareness, constant self criticism, and regular self examination.



Learn more about the Elementary Education (BA) requirements below.