Today's schools are in critical need of effective teachers. Between 2012-2022, over 18.5% growth in the need for teachers is expected. Of the nearly 211,000 teaching positions, roughly 93,000 will be K-12 areas (Illinois Department of Employment Security, 2014).Benedictine's state approved K-12 Education programs are dedicated to meeting that challenge consistent with state and national standards.
With demand growing at a rapid rate, having a degree in special education prepares candidates to teach students in kindergarten through high school with cognitive, emotional, multiple, physical, and learning disabilities, and other health impairments.
We currently offer a major and a minor in Spanish, with an array of courses that stimulate students' intellectual and personal growth and broaden their perspective, thus enabling them to become responsible citizens and leaders in the world community. In addition to developing and polishing their language skills in our programs, students can combine a major or minor in Spanish with degree programs in education.
The Bachelor of Arts in Music Education is a comprehensive program of study that fulfills the requirements needed for licensure as a K-12 music educator in the state of Illinois. In addition to completing required coursework in music and education, students pursuing a degree in music education are required to perform a music jury each semester.
The Physical Education program at Benedictine University imparts an understanding of the positive impact of a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for daily physical activity. It addresses the significant health problems young people face today in the area of exercise, obesity, nutrition and knowledge of healthful living. In addition, Benedictine University also offers a program in Exercise and Sports Studies for students pursuing health and fitness professional careers. For more information about the Exercise and Sports Studies program click here.
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After a thirty-year career as a high school math teacher, Dr. James Pelech joined the School of Education in June of 2003. Dr. Pelech has earned a Doctorate in Curriculum and Social Inquiry from National Louis University, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Mathematics Education from Concordia University, a Masters of Business Administration from Governors State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Saint Norbert College.
Dr. Pelech taught mathematics at three high schools. His academic initiatives included cross-curricular teaching and Problem-Based Learning (PBL), new teacher mentoring, and being a member of the North Central Accreditation Team. In 2003 he was Richards High School’s nominee for the “Excellence in Education Award.”
Here at Benedictine Dr. Pelech continues to use PBL and the creation of authentic products in all classes. Examples of authentic products include the design of a multi-media project for a local K-8 school focusing on such topics as “How to prepare for a test,” or “How to organize one’s materials”. It must be noted that these projects are actually used by this school. In an interdisciplinary course involving health services professions, students are asked to design a display for a health fair focusing on underserved communities. Dr. Pelech utilizes Benedictine values in his teaching as he uses ideas from the Rule of Benedict as teaching strategies. In 2016 he was awarded the Kevin Doyle Faculty Award for Leadership in Mission and Catholic Identity.
Dr. Pelech’s research focuses on using action research to enhance student learning. Previous research topics include analyzing how class quizzes can actually increase learning, and examining student time management. He has had two books published. The first one, The Comprehensive Handbook of Constructivist Teaching: From Theory to Practice discusses how to incorporate the Constructivist philosophy into one’s daily teaching. The second book, Guide to Transforming Teaching Through Self-Inquiry, focuses on the use of the Constructivist theory to monitor such teacher activities as personal journal writing, research, and professional development.
In terms of professional development, Dr. Pelech is very involved in a wide range of professional activities and organizations. He is a Fulbright Specialist, and in the spring of 2016 he provided professional development to faculty and students at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. This initiative resulted in an electronic research conference in 2017 between Charles University’s Doctoral candidates and Benedictine undergraduate students. Dr. Pelech’s professional development also includes working with various departments here at Benedictine. He is past President of the Association for Constructivist Teaching, an international organization comprised of teachers, administrators, and researchers. He was one of the founding members of the Benedictine/Saint Ethelreda partnership. In this capacity he works with teachers from this school to improve their teaching; this includes co-teaching at different grade levels. He is also President of the Saint Ethelreda School Board which was named one of the recipients of the National Catholic Education Association’s “Outstanding Board" Award.