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English Teaching

The English Education program at Boise State University offers:

  • An undergraduate major in English teaching whose completion results in Idaho teaching certification in English language arts for grades 6-12.  For information and advice regarding the Undergraduate English Teaching Program, requirements, course recommendations, entrance requirements, and teaching blocks including student teaching, click on: “Undergraduate Majors” in the navigation column.
  • Pathways for students who already have a Bachelor’s degree to earn Idaho teaching certification in English language arts for grades 6-12.  For information and advice regarding Post-Baccalaureate certification requirements, course recommendations, entrance requirements, and the teaching blocks including student teaching, click on: “Post-Baccalaureate Certification” in the navigation column.
  • A Master’s degree for practicing teachers who wish to learn more about effective literacy teaching in grades K-13.  For information and advice regarding the Masters in Teaching English Language Arts degree program, click on: “Masters in TELA” in the navigation column.
  • The Boise State Writing Project, an affiliate site of the National Writing Project, for teachers of any subject or grade level who are interested in effective teaching of writing and literacy.  For more information about the Boise State Writing Project, visit the Project website (

On this page you can read:

  • Information for English Teaching Students
  • About Teaching Certification in English
  • Questions and Answers about English Teaching
  • English Education Faculty

Helpful Websites:

National Council of Teachers of English

BSU College of Education

Idaho State Department of Education

Information for English Teaching Students:

For questions about English courses or the English degree, see your regular advisor. To be assigned an English advisor, contact the English Department Advising Coordinator, Jill Heney at: .

For questions about English Teaching or Education requirements that your regular advisor may not know, email Dr. Jim Fredricksen at:

ENGL 301 (501) Teaching Writing, and 481 (581) Lit for Jr. and Sr. High are to be taken as co-requisites (during the same semester). Take them after you have had at least one semester of upper-division work (300 and 400 level courses), but before Block II. The best time to take these two courses is during the block I semester.  That way you will have taken plenty of English content before learning how to teach it, and you will be taking classes about teaching at the same time you are out in schools with kids and can try some of it out.

While ENGL 301 and 481 are not required in the Graduate Certificate Program, we strongly advise these students also to take these courses.

PDS: English Education faculty have “Professional Development School” (PDS) partnerships with selected language arts teachers and schools.  The idea of the PDS is for interns, teachers, and professors to work collaboratively to improve the achievement of the school’s students and learn from each other. Interns are selected for this placement for Blocks II or III, and English Education faculty are the university supervisors for these placements. If you are interested, let Dr. Robbins know.

Applications for teaching Block I are due early in the semester before you want to begin your Block I internship, so plan ahead. Applications for Fall semesters are due by the first Friday in February the year before; applications for Spring semesters are due by the first Friday in September.

Comprehensive Literacy: The state requires language arts teachers K-8 to complete the Comprehensive Literacy course. If you know that you want to teach high school, it’s not required. If you’re not sure, or you know you want to teach in the middle grades (6-8), you should take the course (at BSU it’s ED-LTCY 340). Because Comprehensive Literacy is not required for 6-12 certification, you can take it after you have been hired in a middle school or junior high. But if you can take it now, you will have it done.

Glitch in Graduation Progress Reports: Apparently during spring 2010 Student Graduation Progress Reports contain a computer glitch in the Electives assessment.  Sometimes the computer mis-calculates students’ electives, saying they are completed when in fact they are not.  We recommend that you calculate your own Electives just to be sure.  However, because of all the education courses that English Teaching majors take, it’s rare for an English Teaching major to be short of university general electives.

About Teaching Certification in English

The English Teaching emphasis of the English major Bachelor’s degree is intended to prepare students to teach secondary school English language arts, grades 6 – 12. Students who complete university requirements for English teaching also complete state requirements for an Idaho teaching certificate. A teaching certificate allows you to teach in public secondary schools in Idaho, and a teaching certificate from Idaho will often transfer to other states.

You may earn Idaho teaching certification in English either by meeting the undergraduate English Teaching emphasis degree requirements, or by enrolling in BSU after earning a Bachelor’s degree in English at an accredited college or university and completing teaching certification requirements. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another subject besides English but wish English to be your main teaching subject, you may also earn an English teaching certificate but you are likely to need to take additional English courses. (The state requires at least 45 English credits.)

Questions and Answers About Certification

Q: Does an Idaho state teaching certificate guarantee me a teaching job?
A: No, but it does qualify you to apply for and hold teaching positions in public secondary schools.

Q: If I want to teach in a private school, do I need a teaching certificate?
A: Probably not. Most private schools do not require you to hold a state teaching certificate, although your preparation to teach your subject(s) might be a factor in that school’s hiring and accreditation. (Private schools generally pay less than public schools.) Charter Schools, however, DO require state teaching certification because technically they are still public schools.

Q: What if I want to teach in grades lower than grade 6?
A: You should be in Elementary Education.

Q: What if I want to teach college English?
A: You do not need a teaching certificate, but you will probably need a doctoral degree in English. (Community Colleges sometimes hire teachers with Masters degrees, but that is less common where candidates with Ph.D.’s are available.)

Q: Can I teach secondary school English if I earn a minor instead of a major in English?
A: Yes, if you have earned a minor teaching “endorsement” or teaching certificate in English, you may be hired to teach it–provided you have a major teaching certificate in another subject and you have passed the Praxis II in English with a score of at least 158. Click on “Minor Teaching Endorsements” in the navigation column for more information.

Q: Can I be a teacher if I have broken the law?
A: It depends. When you apply to go out in the schools for block I, one line on the application form asks: “Have you ever been adjudicated guilty in a court of law of an offense other than a minor traffic violation?” This rule, like the fingerprint check required by the state at the time of certification, is to ensure that people who could be a danger to children and schools do not become teachers. If you have been found guilty, set up an appointment with the Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education. (Currently that is Dr. Ken Coll.) Your conference may begin an appeal process by which you can explain your circumstances. If your appeal is successful, you would be allowed to proceed towards certification.

Q:   If I hold an elementary teaching certificate (for grades K-8), can I add an English Teaching endorsement?

A: Not exactly.  Completing the requirements for the English minor endorsement allows you to teach English through grade 9.  It does not permit you to teach English in grades 10-12.

English Education Faculty, Boise State University:

Jim Fredricksen
Room 203 in the Old Gateway Center (on the corner of Chrisway and University, 1055 University Drive)

Bruce Robbins
LA 211 F; 208-426-3036

Jeffrey Wilhelm
Room 203 in the Old Gateway Center (on the corner of Chrisway and University, 1055 University Drive)

(All three English Education faculty members are experienced secondary school teachers of English with doctorates in the teaching of English language arts.)