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Department of Education

Department of Education

Teaching in Ghana

"Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information"

Paulo Freire (1921 - 1997)

More than ever, the world needs great teachers. Here at Birmingham-Southern College, that’s what we’ll make you. Whether you are observing, teaching, or planning lessons in the schools, you’ll immediately get a realistic picture of teaching as a profession and are given the opportunity to develop effective teaching schools—but you won’t do it alone. Our students get a mix of theory and practical experience in classrooms around Birmingham and across the globe, and they’re taught and mentored by talented faculty who have first-hand experience about what works.  

  • We teach the way you’ll teach in your own classroom. Engage in a range of educational activities, then learn why they work and how to apply them yourself. You’ll be challenged and inspired at the same time.
  • You’ll get lots of hands-on experience. First-year majors spend their January term working in local classrooms, then analyze their experience during spring semester. Students later work with youngsters in a specific area, such as reading, math, or social studies. And all of our students do at least a full semester of student teaching.
  • We offer small, intimate classes that characterize the Birmingham-Southern experience. Your instructors know you, and you are a part of an educational community that shares in the larger vision of the liberal arts experience and the preparation for life it offers.
  • You can get outside your comfort zone, whether that’s hitting the inner-city, teaching in a rural school, or traveling abroad to Uganda, where we have a collaborative agreement with a school system that lets our students teach and tutor in village classrooms.
  • You’ll learn how to think critically, how to speak clearly, how to persuade and how to lead. When you’re finished, you’ll be prepared for graduate school or to lead a classroom of your own—anywhere in the world you choose to teach.


    Education Department Faculty and Staff

    Gay Barnes
    Assistant Professor of Education
    Harbert 119

    Louanne Jacobs
    Associate Professor of Education
    Harbert 117

    Treva H. Lester
    Certification Officer
    Harbert 116 

    Kelly Russell 
    Associate Professor of Education
    Harbert 126

    Amelia Spencer
    Associate Professor of Education
    Harbert 115


    Requirements for Admission

    Students should plan to be fully admitted to the Teacher Education Program (TEP) by the end of their sophomore year in order to proceed optimally through the program.

    The following must be accomplished before admission to TEP:

    • Completion of 10 units of credit or the equivalent
    • Cumulative GPA of at least 2.75
    • Successful Completion of ED 201 (Introduction to Education) or EPy 260 (Survey of Exceptional Children)
    • Successful Completion of the Exploratory Teaching experience (ED 199/299/399) during January
    • Passing scores on all 3 sections of the Praxis Core Test
    • Background check (will be discussed in Exploratory Teaching)
    • Submit a writing sample and application prior to your TEP Interview
    • Successful interview with two or more members of education. Your electronic portfolio (begun in your first education course) and writing sample will be assessed at this time.

    While these criteria are being met, students may take education courses that do not require TEP admission as a prerequisite, but students are not allowed to have more than FIVE professional education courses before admission to TEP.


    Teacher Education Program Forms


    Electronic Portfolio

    Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree: you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say this we know.
    T.S. Elliot

    Students are expected to start their eportfolios very early in the program. These valuable assessment tools are begun in the Introduction to Education Class and are used to showcase a student’s work at each checkpoint during the Teacher Education Program.

    Follow this link to see what an initial electronic portfolio should include.


    Learning Outcomes and Departmental Mission

    Upon completion of the education major, students will be able to

    • demonstrate written communication skills,
    • demonstrate oral communication skills,
    • demonstrate knowledge of conceptual framework,
    • demonstrate dispositions necessary for teaching,
    • plan instruction,
    • articulate a philosophy of teaching,
    • demonstrate teaching skills.

    Our mission statement:

    "The primary purpose of a liberal education is to make one's mind a pleasant place in which to spend one's time."
    --Sydney J. Harris

    Birmingham-Southern College challenges students to think independently, to examine the arts and sciences aesthetically and critically, and to communicate clearly. It fosters the advancement of scholarship, personal and resourceful learning, and comprehensive advising.

    The Education Department seeks to complement the mission of the college by providing an academically rigorous, intellectually stimulating program of experiences. Our mission is to produce purposeful and intentional teachers who know, know why, and know how.

    The Education Department is philosophically grounded by the tenets of social constructivism and critical theory.  Our teaching is grounded in the work of educational researchers, philosophers, and theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Cambourne, Bruner, Dewey, and Freire.


    Success Stories

    BSC graduates can be found teaching in public and private schools, serving as administrators and curriculum specialists, attending choice graduate schools, engaging in educational research, and leading corporate training programs. 

    • We have a 100 percent graduate school acceptance rate.
    • Approximately 100 percent employment rate.
    • More than 400 BSC alumni teach and lead in the greater Birmingham area alone.

    “What stands out to me about my time at Birmingham-Southern is the faculty. It’s hard to imagine that you could have better teachers anywhere. They inspire you. They challenge you. They work with so much energy. Another important point about BSC was the amount of time I spent off-campus in the field, beginning with my first Exploration Term. By graduation, I had more than 200 hours of classroom time, so when I began teaching my own class, I was very well prepared for the task.”

    Emily Wallace‘11 / Education
    3rd Grade Teacher, Shades Cahaba Elementary School, Homewood, Alabama School

Amelia Spencer
Assistant Professor/Chair of Education
Birmingham-Southern College
office phone- 205-226-7789