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Pre-Student-Teaching (Sophomore Block)

You know what classrooms are like – you’ve been a student most of your life. But what’s it like to stand in the front of the classroom? What’s it like to lead a group of students and guide them in their learning? At St. Norbert College, you have the opportunity to find out for yourself right away in your second year through our pre-student-teaching program, more commonly known as Sophomore Block.

Sophomore Block begins after the completion of the introductory courses EDUC 125 and EDUC 130. Sophomore Block is a set of concurrent education courses typically taken during sophomore year. A group of education students with the same certification (early childhood-middle childhood, middle childhood-early adolescence, early adolescence-adolescence and early childhood/adolescence) take the same set (block) of education courses together during one semester. As a group, you will spend the first two-thirds of the semester receiving instruction from education faculty members. After in-class instruction ends, you will apply what you have learned in a pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 classroom. During the remainder of the semester, you will be placed in a local school where you will observe a cooperating teacher and have the opportunity to practice teach.

The Sophomore Block field placement is the teacher-education discipline’s second-most extensive field-based experience for course credit; student-teaching is the first. Allowing our students the opportunity to have this experience in their second year has proven to be one of the distinguishing features of the teacher-education program at St. Norbert College. The Sophomore Block experience allows student to gauge whether teaching is the right career path for them early on by presenting them with first-hand experience in the classroom. Sophomore Block participants interact with diverse groups of school-age children and many experienced teachers. They also have the opportunity to practice critical tasks, such as lesson planning. Past participants of Sophomore Block found the program to be highly rewarding and a great indicator of what they encountered when they began their teaching careers.

Before Registering for Sophomore Block
Prior to registering for the set of Sophomore Block courses, the following program requirements must be met:
  • Complete the SNC Teacher Certification Intent Form
  • Earn a minimum 2.75 overall GPA
  • Successful completion of Foundations of Education (EDUC 125) and Educational Psychology (EDUC 130)
  • Provide evidence of basic skills competency: qualifying ACT/SAT scores, course base competency or Praxis® Core tests
  • Evidence of St. Norbert College teacher dispositions
  • Criminal background check completed
  • Embedded signature assessments passed (specified assignments from particular courses that are used for evidence of competence in the standards)
Required Courses During Sophomore Block
The courses you will take during Sophomore Block depend on your certification. If your major is elementary education with a certification in either early childhood-middle childhood (EC/MC) or middle childhood-early adolescence (MC/EA) the courses you will register for are:

Elementary Sophomore Block Courses
(EC/MC and MC/EA)
Course Number Course Name Credits
EDUC 226 Social Studies Methods 4
EDUC 249 Pre-Student Teaching Experience: Elementary School 2
EDUC 262 Children’s Literature 4
EDUC 281 Teaching Children With Exceptionalities 4
EDUC 287 Integrated STEM Methods 4

If you are seeking early childhood/adolescence (EC/A) certification with a major in world language, art or theatre, or early adolescence-adolescence (EA/A) certification with a major in a difference content area, the Sophomore Block courses you register for are below. In addition to the secondary Sophomore Block courses, you will take one course in your major. To minimize scheduling conflicts in the placement, the major course must be taken as the first course of the day or after 3 p.m.

Secondary Sophomore Block Courses
(EA/A and EC/A)
Course Number Course Name Credits
EDUC 232 Adolescents With Exceptionalities 4
EDUC 250 Pre-Student-Teaching Experience: Secondary School 2
EDUC 251 Literacy in the Content Areas 4
EDUC 254 Instructional Methodologies for Adolescents 4
*One major course requirement 2-4

Sophomore Block Semester Schedule Overview
Semester Weeks 1-10 Semester Weeks 11-16
Elementary Pre-Professional Courses
(EDUC 226, 262, 281 and 287)
Elementary Pre-Student Teaching
(EDUC 249)
Secondary Pre-Professional Courses
(EDUC 232, 251 and 254)
Secondary Pre-Student Teaching
(EDUC 250)
N/A Seminar
(Elementary and Secondary)
EA/A and EC/A only - one course from major

Field Placements and Expectations
Sophomore Block field placements are generally within 30 miles of St. Norbert College, although in some instances, they may be farther away. Students are responsible for their own transportation.

Students are expected to follow the responsibilities of the cooperating teacher during their field experience. While working with a supervisor assigned from St. Norbert College and their cooperating teacher, students may make lesson plans, assign homework, create assessments and grade students’ work. Similar to teachers, Sophomore Block students are at their assigned schools five days a week and follow the schedule set by their school, not St. Norbert College. 

In addition to being in the classroom, Sophomore Block students must attend seminar sessions to discuss their progress and share experiences. These seminars meet once a week after 3 p.m. and are facilitated by a member of the teacher-education program.

Sophomore Block – A Gateway in the Teacher-Education Program
Satisfactory completion of Sophomore Block, the field placement experience and all courses is one of the Gate 2 requirements that must be met in order to be formally admitted to the St. Norbert College teacher-education program. The cooperating teacher and the field supervisor both evaluate the performance of the Sophomore Block student in their field-placement. At the conclusion of Sophomore Block, the faculty and field placement supervisors meet and collaboratively review the evidence for each pre-service teacher. The faculty review the Sophomore Block evaluations, verify Gate 2 requirements, and make a determination regarding admission to the St. Norbert College teacher-education program.

For more information about Sophomore Block, see the Sophomore Block Experience section of the Teacher-Education Handbook.
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