Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
English Department
B.A. in English with Certification

Program Overview Professional Standing 
Field Experiences Required For Certification  Required Standardized Testing 
Advising Tips  Professional Development 


English majors seeking certification must complete the requirements for a B.A. degree in English in addition to completing the appropriate coursework in education. The program is often considered rigorous, challenging, and strong. Some students choose to attend college an extra semester or year, depending on their background in a foreign language. Shippensburg's certification program is accredited by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Successful candidates will be qualified to teach English/language arts in the public schools in Pennsylvania for grades 7-12. 

Besides required coursework, you will complete three levels of "field experience": Level I (sometimes called "self-initiated" involve 30 hours of observation and working with others--tutoring or another approved activity), Level II (often called "pre student teaching," which occurs in the "methods semester"), and Level III (formal student teaching, an entire semester of working as an interm teacher).  The program requires a 3.0 QPA to continue into the "methods" course and student teach. You must also pass 4 PRAXIS tests (standardized tests administered by ETS) before you will be permitted to complete student teaching.  More information below.


Students must apply for Professional Standing one semester prior to taking their methods courses (Teaching English in the Secondary Schools I and II, EDU 321 and EDU 322) and one full year before student teaching. To qualify for Professional Standing, students should have completed TCH 260 Educational Psychology and TCH 205 American School, finished the Level 1 field experience (documentation given to Dr. McFarland) and maintained a minimum 3.0 QPA. Applications for Professional Standing are obtained in the Office of Field Services, Shippen Hall third floor. Once you have been approved by the Office of Field Services, you will be cleared to complete your program.
NOTE: You should not plan on taking "methods" until you only have 2-3 courses remaining; this semester is to be your LAST semester at Shippensburg before the student teaching semester. 


Level 1: The self-directed Level 1 field experience includes a total of 30 hours of classroom observation and instructional activity beyond the observations done for Educational Psychology or American School. All 30 hours must be completed before enrolling in EDU 321 and EDU 322, Teaching English in the Secondary Schools I and II.

You will observe 10 hours in a middle school setting, 10 hours in a high school, and you will work with students directly for 10 hours. You also must write up your comments concerning what you learned about teaching, students, or the learning process in one or two pages for your file. In addition to the observation of a middle school/junior high teacher and a high school, you should interview the teachers about their teaching career to get a better understanding of this career you have chosen. When you have completed the Level I requirements (gotten the necessary signatures, etc.), please turn your documentation in to Dr. Tom Crochunis HH 326 or Dr. Erica Galioto DHC 105. 

a. Observations: You must complete a minimum of 20 hours of classroom observation, 10 hours in a middle school and 10 hours in a high school. Both site visits should involve at least two different settings such as observing different grade levels or ability levels, different teachers, different types of classrooms such as an ESL (English as a Second Language) room, or visiting different environments such as an inner-city and a rural school. You should focus upon the differences between middle schools and high schools and attempt to identify effective teaching behaviors. The purpose of this activity is to be certain that you want to work in the environment of the school. As you observe, imagine yourself as the teacher. Is this really what you want to do?

You may call area schools yourself to set up observation hours. Clear everything through office personnel in the respective schools. Be sure to identify yourself as a Shippensburg education student, and explain clearly your purpose in calling. DRESS APPROPRIATELY WHEN VISITING SCHOOLS. If you have further questions, contact Dr. Tom Crochunis x 1031, HH326, or Dr. Erica Galioto x 1017, DHC105,

b. Instructional Activity: This involves 10 hours of direct instructional or tutorial experience. It should be an activity in which you are directly involved with students, such as teaching or coaching, serving as a camp counselor, swimming instructor, Sunday school teacher, youth league coach, etc. The purpose of this activity is to make sure that you truly enjoy working with students before you commit to completing your certification.


Dr. Tom Crochunis x1031, HH 326, or Dr. Erica Galioto x 1017, DHC105,

Level 2: The second field experience occurs as part of the methods courses. You will take a 6-hour block of courses that meets, despite what the schedule says, from 8:00-10:50 on Mondays and Wednesdays. In methods, besides learning a great deal of information that will prepare you for the classroom, you will learn how to plan and implement lessons that you will then teach to public school students for part of the actual methods course. You will be assigned to work with two public school teachers (normally your two cooperating teachers) for 2 weeks during the methods semester. Because you will report to your school every morning, you should not take any courses that meet before noon during the methods semester, except methods itself. You are also encouraged to schedule the methods courses the semester immediately preceding student teaching if possible. For your information, during the methods semester also you will attend several interdisciplinary workshops on Tuesday mornings.

Level 3: The Level 3 experience consists of student teaching. Because you will be certified to teach English/language arts for grades 7-12, your student teaching experience will involve spending 8 weeks in a high school setting and 8 weeks in a middle school or junior high school setting. You must apply for student teaching one academic year in advance. You must attend the Student Teaching Application Conference held in late September or early October each year if you plan to student teach the following year. Details are announced in the Slate and may be obtained by calling the Office of Field Services (x1487). Students who wish to teach in an international school, or on a Native-American Reservation, or who have special placement requests must make these known to Dr. Peggy Hockersmith, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services and the Director of Field Services, at least one year prior to student teaching. Student teaching is a full-time commitment, so do not plan to take other courses or work during the student teaching semester, except with special permission.


Students applying for Pennsylvania certification in secondary English must pass the PRAXIS I tests required by PA: PPST tests (Reading, Writing, and Math) and the Specialty Area (English) exam, called English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge (test # 10041).  Pick up a Registration Bulletin on the third floor of Shippen Hall.

Suggested timetable for taking the test: PPST tests: junior year, prior to applying for the methods course; English specialty: early in the methods semester. PPST's must be done before you will be allowed to continue with your professional semester (Methods class). 

You must complete and pass all your PRAXIS tests before you will be allowed to student teach. 

Registration forms are available on the third floor of Shippen Hall. These tests are administered by ETS, whose toll-free number is 1-800-772-9476. The scores take approximately 6 weeks to get back; therefore, do not wait too late to schedule your tests.


The following are professional organizations you may want to know more about: 

PSEA: The Pennsylvania State Education Association provides members with liability insurance coverage, educational publications, and the opportunity to participate in a number of valuable workshops and conferences. There is a university wide branch of PSEA called the Shippensburg University Education Association. Members participate in educational workshops and provide enrichment activities for local public school students.

NCTE: The National Council of Teachers of English holds a number of national and regional conferences which focus on current trends and issues in the area of English/language arts instruction. Members may choose to receive either the English Journal, which targets high school teachers, or Voices in the Middle, which targets middle school teachers. Both journals contain ideas for teaching, reviews of adolescent books, and places where your students can publish their own work. NCTE, 1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana IL 61801-1096. (217) 328-3870.

NCTE SU: This is the student affiliate of the NCTE.  The organization meets several times a semester. Dr. Tom Crochunis x 1031, HH326, or Dr. Erica Galioto x 1017, DHC105,

PCTELA: The Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts is the state arm of NCTE. It also hosts state-wide and regional conferences where teachers meet to exchange teaching ideas and to discuss current trends and issues.
Dr. Crochunis or Dr. Galioto about how to join this organization.

Current Happenings 

February 18, 2016:  Dr. Santalucia will be reading poetry from her dynamic debut Because I Did Not Die at the Grove Spiritual Center, 6:30 p.m.   

All events are free and open to the public!