Spanish Teaching BA and Spanish Teaching Minor Programs
Please note the following Utah state requirements:
In order to be admitted to a teaching major, students must meet certain cutoff scores on the ACT, SAT, or Praxis Core exams, have a minimum 3.0 total high school or college GPA (whichever is most recent), and pass a fingerprinting/criminal background check. For more information, see http://education.byu.edu/ess/licensing.html
In order to be recommended for a Utah World Language Endorsement, candidates must pass an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Spanish World Language Praxis exam. For more information, see the corresponding sections below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I become a Spanish Teaching major?
A. The Spanish Teaching major is a limited enrollment program, which means that you must apply for admission to the program. The steps are as follows:
*Make an appointment with Humanities Advisement, located in 1175 JFSB, to declare a Spanish Teaching pre-major.
*Go to Education Student Services, located in 350 MCKB , to create a mYLink account and obtain fingerprinting clearance and a criminal background check (see http://education.byu.edu/ess/fingerprint.html).
*Enroll in FLANG 276, Exploration of Foreign Language Teaching.
*Apply to the major through https://mylink.byu.edu/home/. The application requirements include two letters of recommendation, a Spanish controlled writing sample, and scores from the WebCLIPS diagnostic tests. More information is available on mYlink and will be explained in FLANG 276. Application deadlines are Oct. 31 and Feb. 28.
*You will be notified by email within two weeks of your application results, with instructions to meet with a Spanish Pedagogy faculty member to plan your program. He/she will also sign a form for you to drop off in Humanities Advisement to officially declare a Spanish Teaching major.
Q. What are my chances of being admitted to the major?
A. Our enrollment limit is 20 students per year, or an average of 10 students each Fall and Winter semester. In recent years we have been able to admit most applicants whose Spanish skills and academic performance record are acceptable.
Q: How do I declare a Spanish Teaching minor?
Students may declare a Spanish Teaching minor through Humanities Advisement, located in 1175 JFSB, after they have been accepted to a teaching major in another area.
Q. Are there courses that I need to take in a particular sequence?
A. Yes. The main courses for the Spanish Teaching major and minor are Span 377 and 378 (Methods of Spanish Teaching 1 and 2). These courses must be taken sequentially, preferably in consecutive semesters. Spanish Teaching majors are also required to take Span 380 (Practicum in Spanish Teaching) simultaneously with 378 during the semester before student teaching. Note that these three courses are offered Fall and Winter semesters only.
For Spanish Teaching minors, we recommend taking Span 377 and 378 during Fall and Winter Semesters of your junior year in order to avoid conflicts with required courses for your teaching major.
Q. In other teaching majors, 377 is the methods course, and 378 is the practicum. Is the course numbering different in Spanish?
A. Yes. Spanish has two separate methods courses, Span 377 and 378, both of which are required for Spanish Teaching minors. The practicum is called Span 380.
Q. Can I take Span 377 and 378 the same semester?
A. No. Span 377 is a prerequisite for 378. In addition, the two courses are generally offered at the same hour, so it is not possible to take them simultaneously.
Q. Under special circumstances, can I waive Span 377 and/or 378 or substitute another class?
A. No. Span 377 and 378 are the core courses for the Spanish Teaching major and minor and cannot be waived. (Exception: Teaching majors in another foreign language who have had 377 in that language may substitute that course for Span 377. To arrange this substitution, contact Humanities Advisement in 1175 JFSB.)
Q. I’ve already taken Span 376 or 477. Can I substitute it for 377 or 378?
A. No. Span 376 (formerly numbered as Span 477) is a different course with a different textbook and different content that is geared toward non-teaching majors. It does not address the public school teaching context that is addressed in 377 and 378.
Q. Do I need to take Span 380?
A. Only if you are a Spanish Teaching major. Students in other teaching majors will complete the practicum in their own teaching major.
Q. Can I request a student teaching placement at a specific school or with a specific teacher?
A. You can request it, but you may not receive it. The application form for student teaching allows you to state a preference for what district you want to teach in and what level (middle or high school), and we do our best to honor these requests. Bear in mind, however, that there are dozens of students from BYU, UVU, and other universities who request Spanish placements each semester. There are far more applicants than available placements in Utah County, which necessitates placing some students in other school districts. Other factors in placing student teachers include the qualifications and probationary status of prospective mentor teachers; the number of student teachers they have had recently; the total number of student teachers at a given school in a semester; the preferences of mentor teachers and their principals; and administrative concerns on the part of school districts.
Rest assured that we will do our best to find a student teaching placement that fits your preferences and needs. It is usually not possible, however, to honor requests for placements at a specific school. Students should NOT contact teachers directly and attempt to arrange their own placements, as this creates serious problems for BYU with teachers, principals, and school districts.
Oral Proficiency Requirement
The state of Utah requires a score of Advanced Low or better on an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) in order to qualify for a World Language Endorsement. For a Dual Language Immersion Endorsement, the requirement is Advanced Mid or better . Accordingly, BYU’s Education Student Services (ESS) will recommend students to the state for licensure only if they have passed the OPI. The interview must be completed prior to student teaching.
The College of Humanities will pay the cost for Spanish Teaching majors, Spanish Teaching minors, and Dual Language Immersion Teaching minors to take the OPI once; however, students who wish to repeat the interview to improve their score must pay the cost themselves. For Spanish Teaching majors and minors, the Oral Proficiency Interview is administered in conjunction with Span 491R or Port 491R. When you register for this class, you will be sent an email with instructions on signing up for the OPI. We recommend that you take 491R no later than the first semester of your junior year in order to allow time to repeat the interview if necessary.
A number of options are available to students who want to improve their speaking skills:
*Enroll in a conversation class, Span 311R or 312R.
*Live in the Spanish or Portuguese Language Residence.
*Attend a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking ward.
*Participate in a study abroad program in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country.
*Participate in the English Language Center’s Study Buddy program, in which you work personally with a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking student learning English, and he or she helps you learn Spanish or Portuguese.
*Seek out opportunities to converse with native speakers and ask them to give you feedback on your language use.
*Spend some time on the Spanish or Portuguese WebCLIPS program online. (“CLIPS” stands for “Computerized Language Instruction and Practice Software.”) Pay particular attention to the lessons on the preterite and imperfect. Although CLIPS will not provide direct practice with speaking skills, it can help you master the verb forms you need in order to narrate in the past tense, which is one of the requirements of the Advanced level. See http://webclips.byu.edu/for more information.
Praxis Exam Requirement
In order to qualify for a World Language endorsement in Spanish, the state of Utah requires a score of 168 or better on the Spanish World Language Praxis (exam number 5195). Education Student Services (ESS) will recommend students to the state for licensure only if they have passed the Praxis. Information about the exam will be provided in Span 377. For more information, see http://education.byu.edu/ess/praxis_info.html.
Out-of-Area Student Teaching Placements
Students occasionally request to student teach outside the Provo-Salt Lake area. Unfortunately, this is usually not possible. Student teaching involves regular observation visits from BYU supervisors, who are unable to make multiple long-distance trips during the semester. In addition, student teachers are required to attend regular seminars on campus, which necessitates being in the Provo area. For these reasons, all student teaching placements arranged by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are within approximately 40 miles of Provo (usually in Nebo, Provo, Alpine, Jordan, or Wasatch Districts) so as to allow for supervision by a Spanish Pedagogy faculty member from BYU.
For students wishing to student teach in Houston, Texas or in Washington, DC, the McKay School of Education has set up programs in which BYU faculty members are available to supervise student teachers in these cities. Because these faculty members do not have a background in teaching foreign languages, they are unable to provide specific feedback on language teaching; however, the Houston or Washington programs may be a good fit for students who are interested in working in these areas. For more information, see http://education.byu.edu/ess/international_program.html.
Students who feel they have unusual circumstances that necessitate student teaching outside the Provo-Salt Lake, Houston, or Washington DC areas may solicit a “courtesy placement” through BYU’s Education Student Services (ESS). Such placements are not automatically granted; they require ESS to locate a qualified faculty member from another institution to supervise the student teacher, and the student is required to pay the cost of supervision. Because of the challenges associated with arranging courtesy placements, ESS will approve them only in truly unusual circumstances.
Students with a teaching major should understand that student teaching constitutes the culminating semester of their coursework, and like other majors, this usually requires being physically present in the Provo area. We strongly urge students to plan their family and personal circumstances accordingly.
Financial Aid During Student Teaching
Due to the intensive, full-time nature of student teaching, which requires students to work the same contract hours as a typical teacher in addition to their university coursework, we strongly advise students to avoid working (even part-time) while student teaching.
We recognize that some students may have financial situations that make it difficult for them to go without any income during their semester of student teaching. There are several options available to students in these circumstances, including the following:
*Completing a year-long internship (Span 496) instead of student teaching. Interns are hired by school principals and are paid a salary equal to one-half of what a regular first-year teacher is paid.
*Applying for a scholarship from the College of Humanities, which periodically sets aside scholarship monies specifically to help student teachers. More information is available from Humanities Advisement in 1175 JFSB.
*Applying for a McKay School of Education private scholarship. Education Student Services administers over 40 private scholarships. More information is available from ESS in 301 MCKB.
*Applying for a T.H. Bell Teacher Incentive Loan, a state-sponsored program designed to encourage students to obtain a teaching license and teach in Utah. For every year a teaching graduate teaches in Utah, one year of loan is forgiven. More information is available from Education Student Services.
*Students should apply to the Spanish Teaching Major during their FLANG 276 course through the MyLink database: http://mylink.byu.edu
Occasionally students who already have a B.A. in Spanish contact BYU about the possibility of obtaining an initial teaching license through our licensure program. BYU’s teacher licensure programs are designed only for current BYU undergraduates; the university does not admit post-bac students to licensure programs. If you are interested in post-bac licensure, we recommend that you consider one of the following options:
*The Alternative Route to Licensure program of the Utah State Office of Education
*The Post-Baccalaureate Licensing Program at Utah Valley University
*The Teacher Certification for Persons with Degrees Program at Utah State University
*The Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program at Westminster College
*The World Languages M.A. at the University of Utah
*The Master of Education Program at Weber State University
Please note that in addition to teacher licensure, some of these programs provide a second bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. Consult each university for more information.
Information about Spanish Teaching Courses
FLANG 276, Exploration of Foreign Language Teaching, is the gateway course for all foreign language teaching majors at BYU. (Spanish Teaching minors and Dual Language Immersion Teaching minors should take the corresponding “Exploration of Teaching” course in their own teaching major.) This course is offered on the first block during Fall and Winter Semesters. Students enrolled in this course should not plan to take any other morning courses during the first block, as the course involves 40-50 hours of visits of foreign language classes in high schools, junior high, and elementary schools, which take up the whole morning on alternate weeks. The course is designed to help students decide early on in their academic career whether a career in foreign language teaching and learning; and to hear from experienced teachers and other guest speakers on the social, political, and moral dimensions of public education. Students may apply for admission to the Spanish Teaching major immediately upon successful completion of FLANG 276, but not before. Students who have not yet been admitted to the major may declare a Spanish Teaching pre-major.
Spanish 377, Spanish Teaching Methods 1, is the first of two courses in teaching methods. Departmental approval is required for enrollment in this course, as it is open only to Spanish Teaching majors, Spanish Teaching minors, and Dual Language Immersion K-12 Teaching minors. Span 377 is offered each year during Fall and Winter semesters (but not Spring or Summer).
Spanish 378, Spanish Teaching Methods 2, is the second of the two courses in teaching methods for Spanish Teaching majors and minors. Successful completion of Span 377 with a grade of “C” or better is a prerequisite for enrollment; thus, 377 and 378 must be taken consecutively and not concurrently. For Spanish Teaching majors, Span 378 must be taken the semester immediately prior to student teaching, along with Span 380. Span 378 is offered each year during Fall and Winter semesters (but not Spring or Summer).
Spanish 380, Practicum in Teaching Spanish, is for Spanish Teaching majors only and must be taken concurrently with Span 378 the semester prior to student teaching. (Spanish Teaching minors normally do their practicum in their own teaching major rather than in Spanish.) The practicum involves spending approximately 40 hours observing and teaching in a junior high or high school Spanish classroom. Every effort is made to assign students to the same classroom where they will be student teaching.
ScEd 353, ScEd 375 and CPSE 402 are required of all secondary education majors. These courses may be taken any time after completion of FLANG 276. Some of the courses are offered in the mornings on the second block, for students who took 276 the first block.
Span 476, Student Teaching, is taken during students’ final semester. This course consists of a full-time teaching placement in a middle school, junior high, or high school Spanish classroom, under the supervision of a mentor teacher as well as a BYU supervisor. Attendance at a weekly seminar at BYU is also required. As student teaching involves 8-hour work days plus several hours of preparation, students should not plan to take any other courses during this semester. All other BYU coursework must be completed prior to student teaching. It is also strongly recommended that students not work at another job during the semester they student teach.
Spanish 496, Academic Internship, is an alternative to student teaching. An internship differs from student teaching in the following ways: (1) internships last a full academic year rather than a single semester; (2) interns are assigned full responsibility for their own classroom; (3) interns are paid a salary (which is half that of a regular teacher); and (4) although interns are assigned a mentor teacher, they receive considerably less mentoring and assistance than student teachers do. Inasmuch as the availability of internships is based on the needs of local schools, there may be few or no local internship opportunities in a given academic year; for this reason, students who apply for internships may not be guaranteed a placement. Like student teachers, interns are required to attend a biweekly BYU seminar, and are expected to complete all other BYU coursework prior to the internship.
Additional Information About Related Courses
Span 376, Techniques of Spanish Instruction, is a one-semester course designed for students who want a teaching methods class but are not enrolled in a teacher licensure program at BYU (including students in alternate routes to licensure and graduate student instructors). The course does not count toward the Spanish Teaching major or minor.
For more information…
*About the Spanish Praxis: https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/5195. Also, a practice exam is available for checkout from the Humanities Learning Resource Center in 1141 JFSB.
*About signing up for the Praxis: http://education.byu.edu/ess/praxis_info.html
*About the OPI: http://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-proficiency-guidelines-2012 (click on “Download the complete text” and scroll down to “Advanced Low” for a description of that level. To hear samples of interviews at different levels, click on “Spanish,” then on “speaking.”
*About signing up for the OPI: http://education.byu.edu/ess/opi.html