Why subject area knowledge matters in teaching

Assumption College Undergraduate

bachelors in education studentBecoming a great teacher requires mastery on several fronts:

  • Content knowledge;
  • Teaching expertise specific to the subject matter;
  • General pedagogical knowledge; and
  • Knowledge of child and adolescent development as applied to teaching.

In Massachusetts, students must major in a specific academic discipline in conjunction with their education major. Every education major at Assumption College gains deep subject area knowledge, as well as a grounding in education theory and practice, including 400 hours in the field gaining practical experience – and they graduate with a double major in just four years.

Assumption also provides education majors two advisers — one in your subject area and one in education. This dual approach to learning and advising prepares you to be an outstanding teacher in the classroom and a stand-out applicant in today’s competitive job market. The push to improve subject area knowledge is especially strong in science and math — where studies show teachers often lack specialized content preparation.

According to a study released in 2011 by the National Center for Education Statistics, which surveyed high school teachers, fewer than half of chemistry and physics teachers majored in those subjects, and a quarter of math teachers at the time did not hold math degrees.

More than half of Assumption’s math majors prepare to be teachers, and our biology, chemistry and environmental science majors have the option to double major in education.

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