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WLE programs: Teacher certification

FAQs-Frequently Asked Questions

The information below is provided all rights reserved. It is meant to be informative but it does not replace the official guidelines and requirements set up by the UW-Madison and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. If you have any question or remark about the following questions and answers, please contact the WLE area program head, Professor Francois Tochon: ftochon@education.wisc.edu



Certification Program Possibilities

Our certification programs are currently non-degree programs. Undergraduate students can apply for specific certification programs as soon as their major requirements are completed and thus our programs can partly overlap with their Bachelor 's degree. Students having a B.A. or a B.S. can also be admitted to the Certification programs but will not get a Master's degree for it. These programs are not related to each other. Program specific requirements need to be completed for all these tracks. We are currently reflecting on ways to possibly initiate a Master's degree with Certification but this is not a reality now.


Study Abroad before the Program

Question: I am very interested in the French Study Abroad Program for the summer. I am not quite sure what kind of programs there are, and if a certain one is needed for the school of education. (I plan to major in secondary education- French).

Response: We are organizing the Student Teaching Abroad Program for those students who are already in the certification program. We do not organize study abroad programs as such in the School of Education. About those other programs, you should inquire into your language & Culture Department at the College of Letters & Sciences. For instance, French students at UW have the chance to participate in a language study program in Aix-en-Provence, organized by the French&Italian (FRIT) department.

It would be good to plan one or two full semesters abroad in a context where you will mostly interact with native speakers of your foreign language. This will be an asset for your career. Our requirement is a minimum of one full semester of language immersion (4 continuous months). However, many of our students go abroad for two semesters. For the semester-abroad in France, there is an assistantship program for financial support. The application deadline for this assistantship is February 1. During your stay in France, you can teach 12 hours a week of English conversation from October to May. In addition to the salary for the teaching assignment, up to $2,000 for travel support can be available to Wisconsin residents if they apply early in the academic year.

The Office of International Studies and Programs and International Institute coordinate international activity at the campus level at the UW-Madison. They offer approximately 60 different study abroad programs in every continent. Their web sites regularly present announcements about study abroad programs for undergraduate students. They can be consulted at: http://www.wisc.edu/uw-oisp and http://www.wisc.edu/internationalinstitute. OISP advises on international university linkages and partnerships, coordinates the bulk of undergraduate study abroad program and exchanges for the campus, and manages several cross-college, interdisciplinary initiatives. Many funding sources have deadlines up to a year before your study abroad program begins, so we encourage you to think creatively and plan ahead. You may decide to apply to several different sources. For information about study abroad programs at UW-Madison, visit the Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) Resource Room, 252 Bascom Hall, call (608) 265-6329, email peeradvisor@bascom.wisc.edu .

SURGE (Supplying Undergraduates with Resources for Global Education) and WAGE (Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy) are included in the Madison Initiative, the 2001-2003 biennial budget request from the UW-Madison. SURGE, as a joint venture of the OISP, the Institute, and L&S, will expand undergraduate teaching of world cultures, politics, economics and history; help revise the former International Relations (now Studies) Major; emphasize increased foreign language competency; and expand students' study abroad and career placement opportunities. Contact Assistant Dean Joan A. Raducha at raducha@bascom.wisc.edu

For information on SURGE and WAGE, see
and http://www.wisc.edu/internationalinstitute/wage/abtwage.htm


What Counts as Immersion

Question: "I want to minor in French (with an Education Major in grades 1-9), so this summer, I am spending three months in France working as an "au pair" for a French speaking family there. Will this count as an immersion experience for the Minor or not? Will I need to get documentation of my work there? Will I have to take classes while I'm there for it to count--even though I will be working and living full time with a Francophonic family."

Response: Your experience will count as long as you can document a continuous and serious attempt at improving your French language, and the family you live in is French-speaking (not Americans living in France and speaking English at home). If you follow a French course or some training of some sort in French, that is even better. Just build a portfolio of your activities there. If you are 10 hours a day with a 1-year old who does not speak, then you cannot claim this is an immersion experience. You will have to describe it and give references. Also, we reopened the language EED certification as a pilot, experimental program. If you intend to apply, you will have to pass an oral proficiency exam before being considered for admission. Thus, it is important to become language proficient this summer!


Italian Certification

Question: I am currently teaching Italian on a provisional license. I was given your name and e-mail by my Professor . I am currently enrolled in a certification program to become certified in French and Spanish. But, in order to keep my current position I must become certified in Italian. You are the only program in Wisconsin who can do it. How can I get certified in teaching Italian?

Response: The certification in Italian through UW-Madison would be a possibility if (1) you had already completed a full Italian major and baccalaureate degree at another institution or (2) you were certified to teach in another foreign language. The first situation might allow us to consider a teacher education program for you to complete (however, this would not be in line with the program we require our Secondary Education students to complete currently). The second situation would be a simple "add-on" to an existing certification. But since, as we understand it, you have neither a previous degree with a major in Italian nor previous certification in another foreign language, it is not sure what we can do. If DPI needs you to be admitted to and completing a teacher education program to maintain your license, that would suggest that you must be a student in the Secondary Italian Program here at UW-Madison. This doesn't square with your completing a degree program at another institution (or with our rigorous admissions process to Secondary Education).

If you have corrected or additional information that might help us, please don't hesitate to share that with Barbara Gerloff and Administrative Dean Jeff Hamm at UW Education Academic Services: phone 608-265-2745, e-mail: hamm@education.wisc.edu


Student teaching and placement

Question: I had some questions about possibilities for my student teaching in French. I had an internship with Disney World in Orlando this summer and while I was there, I learned a lot about their Youth Educational Series program.  Basically, what it consists of is many programs with different themes at all of the parks. Student groups come and participate in a variety of workshops, and educational programs.  For example, there is a program with a cultural theme around the world showcase in EPCOT.  They offer an advanced internship with this program from January to June and the facilitators informed me that many schools honor the internship as student teaching.  I was interested if this was something that I could substitute for my student teaching next semester.  I have already completed one semester of formal student teaching last spring, so I feel that this internship would be a wonderful opportunity for me to better experience the creative and improvisational side of the education field, as well as be able to provide my students with invaluable knowledge. 

Response: Unfortunately we cannot consider your work at Disney--though sound pedagogically, interesting and useful-- to count for a foreign language student teaching in a secondary school. It would involve distance supervision, a French-speaking group of adolescents for French certification, and though we try to develop ubiquity as a standard, we did not reach this level yet if you planned to have a Disney experience near Paris. The department head responded that you would still need some sort of systematic supervision of your student teaching by someone the university approves of. Also, we would need to figure out a long distance method for you to take your advanced methods course. Our Student Teaching Abroad program in Toulouse, France, is open to you for experiences in French secondary schools.


Internships To Replace Student Teaching?

Question: I am a UW Certification student, just completing my first semester of student teaching in Spanish in a Middle School. Next semester I will be observing in a high school classroom. I have discovered a possible internship in the school district, although it is in a middle school Spanish classroom. I am wondering if this is an option for me to apply for. I think it would be a 60% position, so I would be able to put in time student teaching at the high school level also, if needed. Basically I'm at the very beginning stage of figuring out how I can make this work for me...but I need to know if I can even apply. The position would be a year long, so I would graduate in the middle of the school year. Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Response: There are a couple important issues around internships that you need to understand:

(1) An internship is designed to replace a student teaching experience. Interns are expected to teach no more than 50% of the load of a regular teacher in the school district, but they are also expected to be in the school all day. You will be in your third semester of the sequence next semester. The full time expectation does not fit with your taking additional foundation classes.

(2) Year-long internships are generally not permitted by the Department of Public Instruction. (DPI administers the internship program.) This sounds like it might be a good opportunity for your final student teaching semester (next Spring), but you would not be permitted to do two semesters in a row, even if (1) above was not an issue.


I am a Certified Teacher outside the United States. How can I Get Licensed for Wisconsin ?

There are steps to obtain a Teaching License in Wisconsin for teachers who have received their training outside of the United States:

(1) People with university course work abroad, need to have their university transcripts or credentials evaluated before applying for a Wisconsin teaching license. A credential evaluation service will check over the transcripts of university course work for individuals educated abroad to see if they might qualify for a teaching license in Wisconsin. The equivalence of classes and semester hours earned is established. Our department uses several foreign credential evaluation services to do this. The interested person may call the service directly and find out how to proceed. Contact: Evaluation Credential Evaluators, Inc. (Phone: 414-289-3400; http://www.ece.org ; eval@ece.org)

(2) Any individual must meet the same criteria as Wisconsin-educated teachers for a license.

(3) Once the evaluation of transcripts is completed by one of the foreign evaluation services, this should be sent to the Licensing Team, Department of Public Instruction, PO Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841. You would ask that the transcript evaluation be checked to see if the individual might be eligible for a license, and what are the areas of deficiency, if any.

(4) If the evaluation proves that the teacher could be granted a license, then the teacher applies to this department for the official license, with a $100 fee.

If the assessment is negative, there are two alternatives: (a) enroll at a Wisconsin college or university to complete the missing requirements for certification, or (b) a district may hire you by applying for an emergency license. The justification for an emergency license is that after trying, the district has determined that there are no licensed teachers for that language available. The requirement of having an emergency license is that for annual renewal, the individual must earn at least six semester credits that will work toward completion of the certification requirements, through an approved program at a Wisconsin college or university. As long as the individual is working toward certification and there continue to be no qualified teachers available, the individual may continue to apply each year for an emergency license. Eventually, the individual will complete the certification program and be eligible to apply for a regular five-year teaching license.

For any query, feel free to contact Paul Sandrock, Consultant for World Languages Education, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841. Phone: 608-266-3079; FAX: 608-266-1965.

Email: s.paul.sandrock@dpi.state.wi.us


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