College of Education Sitemap
Skip to Main Content

Department of Teacher Education

Elementary Teacher Preparation


I didn’t fully realize the benefits of the elementary teacher preparation program (such as the fifth year internship) until I had my own classroom. Not only did I learn how to be more equipped in teaching content such as reading, writing and math, but I also gained more expertise in the area of classroom management.

Katherine Hartsock, Elementary Education Alumni 2001

Teachers Matter

We know this from our own experiences with teachers who changed our lives. There is also a growing body of research that shows that teachers play a significant role in children’s learning. But teachers are not born. Teaching is work that requires professional preparation and lifelong learning.

Top Ranked Programs

For the eighteenth consecutive year, the 2013 U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate schools of education rated Michigan State University’s elementary and secondary education programs as the best in the U.S. This ranking is reflective, in part, of the high esteem in which K-12 school employers hold our graduates, as well as our national and international reputation among educators and scholars.

Diverse Preparation

The elementary education program offers various benefits, including specialized programs like the urban educators cohort program, global educators cohort program, Broad Summer Teaching Fellows, and various study abroad opportunities worldwide. Teachers in the elementary education program are well prepared in their content areas and with the most recent research-based knowledge of instruction and curriculum. They learn to improve schooling in a democratic society and build a more just, sustainable world. They strive to help all students develop conceptual understandings and fluency, become active citizens, and make significant contributions to society. We prepare our teachers to be self-critical, lifelong learners who have a strong sense of agency and who will become tomorrow’s educational leaders.

Why choose MSU?

Visit the Applying to our Programs website

Graduates of MSU’s teacher preparation programs are distinct from other new teachers in two important ways. First, they know their content for we require extensive preparation in a teaching major for all elementary teachers. Second, our teachers participate in a full-year teaching internship in a public school. This allows them to enter the job market as seasoned professionals: They’ve seen a full year of teaching unfold, and collaborated with experienced teachers as they worked with a class of students for an entire school year. Principals regularly tell us that our graduates are more polished, more self-assured, more knowledgeable, and more professional than other first year teachers.

How do we do this?

First, we ask our students to take full advantage of the larger University community. They take classes across disciplinary departments, and are challenged to learn content with their peers who are majoring in those disciplines. In fact, in one analysis, we found that our students outperformed disciplinary majors in almost every course that they take in the University. Second, we provide strong and individualized support for every student. During the internship year this is especially important, and our interns work closely with collaborating teachers in whose classrooms they are teaching, field instructors who visit regularly and provide support and feedback, course instructors who ask our interns to report on their experiences in classrooms and learn from both their failures and triumphs. Our program is hard work both for students and for the teachers who work with them. But teachers are among the most important professionals in our country. They are charged with caring for and nurturing our most important national asset, our children. Thus, we believe, that teacher preparation needs to be rigorous and that rigor needs to be paired with strong and personal support.

Exploring Further

For more information about our Elementary Education Teacher Preparation program, please view the following: