The Education Program of MacMurray College is committed to preparing graduates for fulfilling and productive professional and diverse teaching careers, effective leadership roles, and lives of continued learning and service. The education department's curriculum, in conjunction with MacMurray's liberal arts experience, prepares graduates with critical thinking and communication skills as well as a foundation of learning built on a strong infrastructure of theory, history and current professional practices in the field of education.

This hand-crafted education extends beyond the college classroom to include dynamic experiences of learning and teaching, through which candidates, as reflective professionals, develop and demonstrate the most effective research-based educational practices available. Students are immersed in field experiences which are embedded within the program courses. Each student will observe and participate in classrooms in various school districts to develop the skills needed to be an effective teacher. By the time a student begins their student teaching senior year, they will have already participated in over 100 hours of field observations.

What makes our program different from others?

Program Learning Outcomes

Students in the Elementary Education program will be able to:

The MacMurray Education department aligns with the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards which can be found at, as well as the National Council for the Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards, NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Education Requirements (Illinois State Requirements)

  1. ACT of 22 or higher with 6 or higher on writing or pass the ITAP prior to Student Teaching.
  2. 2.5 Overall GPA, with a C or better in all core courses, and B or better in Field Experience.
  3. Pass the State Test in your field.
  4. Complete and pass the edTPA prior to licensure.

Our location in Jacksonville, with Illinois School for the Deaf, and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, as well as Pathways, Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living, Elm City and partnerships with numerous surrounding school districts, provide our students a wealth of field experience.

Students have options when majoring in Education. The MacMurray Education department is one of two in Illinois that offers a Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education teacher certification program, and we are the only small college to offer the trio of Elementary Education, Special Education, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education.

The MacMurray Education department offers a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with a Special Education Endorsement. Elementary Education students can earn an LBS1 endorsement by completing an additional three courses: Learning Characteristics Individuals with Diverse Needs, Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education, and Methods of Instruction for Learners with Diverse Needs. This additional Endorsement allows teacher candidates to serve ELED students K-6 and SPED students P-21.

Students are engaged in numerous local, regional and national education related field trips and conferences.

In addition to the college general education requirements, the following courses are required for the major: EDUC 202, 225, and 237, and ELED 232, 236, 238, 248, 304, 307, 308, 312, 315, 319, 383, 395. Students will also take a total of 15 credit hours of clinical practice in Elementary Education (ELED 464). Other required courses are Biology, HIST 101, 102, or 104, MATH 125, PHSC 301, PSYC 101 and 242, and SPED 223.

View the entire sample curriculum.

ELED 232. Principles and Methods of Elementary Education. The student will analyze fundamental issues, curriculum, and learning strategies utilized to enhance student learning for every student in today's elementary schools. This course includes 10 hours of field experience.

ELED 236. Introduction to Children's Literature. This course focuses on the study of literature for children and young adults. It includes a wide reading across the genres represented in children's literature, learning to evaluate literature for instruction, integration of multicultural literature, digital storytelling, and exploring children's response to literature. No prerequisite course.

ELED 238. Integrating the Arts in the Elementary Classroom. Candidates will analyze fundamental issues, curriculum, and learning strategies for teaching elementary school children through the integration of the arts into the curriculum. The course prerequisite is ELED 232 and sophomore or junior standing. This course requires 10 hours of field experience.

ELED 248. Integrating Music and Movement in the Elementary Classroom. Candidates will analyze fundamental issues, curriculum, and learning strategies for teaching elementary school children through the integration of music and movement into the curriculum. The course prerequisite is ELED 232 and sophomore or junior standing. This course requires 10 hours of field experience.

ELED 304. Teaching Social Studies and Science. The student will analyze basic principles, techniques and materials for the teaching of social studies and science to enhance student learning for every student in today’s elementary schools. This course requires 10 hours of field experience.

ELED 307. Language Arts for Elementary Teachers. Research as the basis for teaching the facets of language arts; available instructional aids; survey of children's literature; whole language.

ELED 308. Reading Methods. This course will develop a thorough understanding of the reading process and provide teacher candidates with a solid background concerning the important aspects of blended literacy instruction.

ELED 312 Classroom Assessment and Measurement An exploration of instructional design and assessment principles and their application to the problems of teaching and learning, including the design of instruction; task analysis; curriculum development; instructional match; assessment of learning; types of assessment; and the alignment of curriculum, teaching, and assessment. Prerequisite: admittance to the education program.

ELED 315. Field Experience in Language Arts. This course will provide 45 hours of field experience observing, aiding, tutoring, and teaching the facets of language arts and blended literacy. The prerequisite or concurrent course is Language Arts for Elementary Classroom (ELED 307). This course is a benchmark for the program and candidates must complete this course with a B or better.

ELED 319. Field Experience in Reading. This course will provide 45 hours of field experience observing, aiding, tutoring, and teaching the facets of reading and blended literacy. Candidates will conduct a pre-assessment, plan an intervention, and analyze the post assessment. The prerequisite or concurrent course is Reading Methods (ELED 308). This course is a benchmark for the program and candidates must complete this course with a B or better.

ELED 325. Methods of Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School. Examination of the pedagogical mathematics content for K-6th grade students. Provides a foundation for understanding the curricula for elementary school math and includes teaching methods, materials, and evaluation of mathematics. This course has a requirement of 10 hours of field experience.

ELED 344. Clinical Practice: Elementary Grades. The Clinical Practice field experience for elementary Education candidates will provide for implementing competencies in curriculum and instruction, differentiation, assessment, developing professional collaborations, and managing classrooms. Candidates will follow all guidelines outlined in the Handbook for Teaching Candidates and Cooperating Teachers.

ELED 383. Reading Lab. This course concentrates on blended literacy concepts and the various methods of teaching reading, including whole language. Also includes teaching strategies, diagnostic tools, and interpretation and analysis of testing results. Other topics include the development of language as a prerequisite to reading, designing a remediation plan, and implementation and evaluation of outcomes. This course requires 45 hours of field experience.

ELED 395. Seminar for Elementary Education Majors. The seminar for Elementary Education majors will provide for the integration of concepts, attitudes, and theories for student teaching. Course pre-requisites: ELED 232 and junior standing in the education program.

Photo of Dr. Bradley Walkenhorst

Dr. Bradley Walkenhorst

Associate Professor of Special Education

"Give your whole heart to the students without ever asking for anything in return." – Lao Xing Zhi

  • Areas of interest: Dr. Walkenhorst enjoys expanding his knowledge on instructional methods, needs of diverse learners and re-structuring education to meet the needs of all students. He also enjoys learning about Special Education and inclusion models on an international level.
  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – St. Louis University
  • M.A.T. (Special Education) – Webster University
  • B.A. in Liberal Studies – Thomas Edison State College
  • Courses taught: Teaching in a Diverse Society: Education of the Exceptional Learner, Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education, Field Experience in Special Education, Methods: Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs, Advanced Field Experience: Special Education, Clinical Experience in Special Education.
Photo of Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson

Assistant Professor of Elementary Education

"Be the change you want to see."

  • Areas of interest: Johnson has a passion for the induction and mentoring of pre-service and beginning teachers as they enter the field of education. Her professional experience draws on her background in social work as she strives to improve the quality of education in urban and high needs schools by understanding the needs of the whole child. Johnson believes in stressing purposeful integration of technology into the classroom as well as collaboration and creativity. She also enjoys blending “STEM” content and literature to build cross-curricular learning.
  • M.A. in Educational Technology – Concordia University Chicago
  • Teaching Certification – Governor’s State University
  • B.A. in Social Work – Bethany College
  • Courses taught: Principles of Elementary Education; Math Methods for Diverse Learners-K12; Reading Methods and Reading Lab; Methods of Teaching Social Studies and Science in Elementary School; Technology and Instruction in Education.

Our students are in local classrooms from day one through student teaching. Education students take what is learned in the classroom, observe what is happening in the schools and analyze and reflect throughout their academic career. During their times in local classrooms, students will observe, assist, tutor, and teach small and large groups.

Photo of Rhea Drake

Rhea Drake '12

Rhea Drake graduated from MacMurray in 2012 with a degree in Special Education. Drake worked full-time and had a family when she made the decision to go back to school, but she worked hard in her classes and continued to take on extra responsibilities. She was President of the Council for Exceptional Children, Chapter 99 in Jacksonville, and, worried about her students with disabilities struggling to read, she took specialized training during the summer to learn Orton-Gillingham, a multi-sensory approach to teach reading more effectively. She currently teaches special education for the Meredosia School District and was named the Clarissa Hug Special Education Teacher of the Year for 2018. Drake remains active in her community, in working with professional organizations and she continues to help mentor current MacMurray students.