Bachelor of Education

The two-year, Bachelor of Education (Elementary) After-Degree program at St. Mary’s University is designed to prepare teachers to teach at the primary and elementary levels (K-6) in Alberta schools.

The degree is designed to provide an intensive orientation to and mastery of the knowledge, skills and attributes essential for those who would teach in the primary/elementary, K-6 programs administered by authorized school authorities in Alberta and beyond, with particular reference to the unique environment of the Catholic school system in Alberta. Catholic School Districts/Divisions seek teachers who can articulate what it means to be Catholic and who are able to integrate their faith and culture in an all-inclusive community. The degree program is structured to achieve that objective.

Instruction is delivered by a combination of core education faculty members and experienced field practitioners who have attained advanced academic training in the field of educational studies combined with extensive experience as teachers in Canadian schools.

Guiding our teacher preparation program is our signature pedagogy that values the dignity of human experience as a pillar of the Catholic intellectual tradition. A three pronged approach of academic course work, practicum teaching, and ongoing professionalization runs as a cohort-based model which aims to foster communities of practice built on trust and a high quality of educational dialogue. We are a program that is dedicated to fostering stewards of the teaching profession who see the importance of connecting heart with mind in honoring the uniqueness of each learner. Our innovative curriculum blends theory, reflective practices, and lectures from highly qualified professors. A robust teaching practicum ensures graduates leave with highly practical and up-to-date teaching approaches.

St. Mary’s Education program has been entrusted to develop foundational courses in understanding the context of our First Nation communities as a process of reconciliation and healing that is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for Indigenous students and a place of intentional and meaningful dialogue for all.

Welcome to St. Mary’s Bachelor of Education program!

Whether you are a future or present student teacher, an alumni graduate or a supporter of our program, you will already know that St. Mary’s is quickly becoming recognized as one of the fastest growing Bachelor of Education programs in Alberta and beyond to prepare teachers today for tomorrow’s students!

Teachers exert a significant influence on children. Although we present a Catholic perspective on education, we are open to everyone interested in education. St. Mary’s BEd faculty and staff are dedicated and highly competent to inspire our student teachers with the best experience and preparation for current educational settings.

Our student graduates are provided with the linkages and transformation of theory to extensive practicum experiences in various school settings. They observe modelling of team teaching and staff collaboration in cohort settings and quickly recognize current best practices to meet diverse needs and engage all students.

Finally, the success of our program is based on close working relationships with all of our school districts, stakeholders and members of the community.

From application to convocation…

On convocation day our Bachelor of Education graduates are delighted as they are handed their diplomas from St. Mary’s President, Dr. Gerry Turcotte, and are recognized by the Bishop, dignitaries and family members. This is one of the most exciting days for faculty, supervisors and staff as we know that our graduates will enter the world of education.

St. Mary’s University Bachelor of Education is a two year after-degree program. Students have already completed their first degree when they arrive. Many students choose St. Mary’s for their undergraduate degree with hopes of entering the program. Other applicants may have completed their BA or BSc elsewhere and have experienced work or travel opportunities. Most important, however, is that each applicant has taken the time to think about teaching as a career and have pursued this choice as a vocation.

Since the onset of the program in 2008 when Catholic school districts in Alberta gathered together to create “something more than an education,” school districts across the province, western Canada and beyond have sought the excellence of teacher graduates from St. Mary’s University. In addition to being recognized as a program of excellence, St. Mary’s Bachelor of Education program is also noted for being the only program in western Canada that offers teacher preparation for those who have aspirations to teach in a Catholic school setting as well as a non-Catholic school setting.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Education program at St. Mary’s are described by our school district partners as mature, confident and hardworking individuals who are committed to helping their students succeed. In addition to the strong knowledge skills and attributes expected of teachers, the program provides opportunities to understand the philosophy, spirituality and profession of teaching in Catholic and non-Catholic settings.

Each applicant who is admitted to the program is carefully chosen to ensure that they are the best fit for the following two years of rigorous coursework and teaching assignments. Transcripts, reference letters and a resume are required as part of the application process.

Teachers should feel like they have a support system and our program has been designed in a cohort model where student teachers have opportunities to network and collaborate together, much like a school staff. Collegial relationships are established and ongoing discussions and conversations allow the sharing of ideas and various perspectives. In our classrooms we teach techniques of inspiration, engagement for learning and team teaching collaboration.

St. Mary’s offers four extensive practicum experiences during the two year program – ,a total of 1040 classroom hours. Opportunities are provided not only in Division One, Division Two and K-9 school settings but also in schools of specialization and international settings. Student teachers who have demonstrated success in an area of concentration with their first degree and have previous training experience and interest may apply for such opportunities. Student teaching practicum locations include Calgary and area as well as within Alberta, Western Canada, UK, China, Taiwan, and Ukraine.

The Bachelor of Education program strives to successfully link theory to practice wherever possible. Our faculty members, instructors and supervisors hold B.Ed. degrees with teaching experience. This is an essential component to ensure the best possible delivery of course outcomes, knowledge and skills. Instructor team teaching, guest presentations and ongoing collaboration with partner districts add tremendous value and expertise.

Our faculty and instructors embrace our welcoming environment and community spirit from their first days at St. Mary’s University. One of our newest sessional instructors recently said that “there was a real sense of welcome during the student orientation and an inclusiveness that was a pleasure to be part of. I think that the focus on building and sustaining relationships is wonderful.”

Generous donors offer their time and financial support through scholarships and bursaries. This investment in our program is particularly evident on the evening of the Awards and Scholarship presentations where so many of our candidates receive scholarships and bursaries that help support them as they complete their studies. One donor said that “the Bachelor of Education program at St. Mary’s University has quickly become recognized for its teaching excellence and the student teachers that I have met demonstrate these qualities every time I visit the campus. I see this program as a gift for my grandchildren and hope for the future. Personally, I am thankful and grateful that we have an institution that is developing teachers specifically for the Catholic school system.”

Children enter the classroom not only with their individual personalities and experiences and but also with their own spirituality and faith experiences. Our teachers recognize the importance of knowing who they are as individuals and leaders. Opportunities for reflection and deep discussions help teachers to understand themselves and develop leadership qualities before making the decision to be in front of children.

The degree is designed to provide:

An intensive orientation to and mastery of the knowledge, skills and attributes essential for those who would teach in the primary/elementary, K-6 programs administered by authorized school authorities in the Province of Alberta and beyond, with particular reference to the unique environment of the Catholic school system in Alberta. Catholic School Districts/Divisions seek teachers who can articulate what it means to be Catholic and who are able to integrate their faith and culture in an all-inclusive community. This degree program is structured to achieve that objective.

The BEd degree program offers the following distinctive characteristics:

  • A two-year, 60-credit (After Degree) of academic study and practicum, which is predicated on prior completion of a St. Mary’s University BA degree or an equivalent liberal arts degree;
  • An admissions process that includes: (a) an analysis of all preceding academic accomplishments; (b) a demonstrated commitment to the vocation/profession of education; and (c) a rating of abilities based on the criteria of learner, worker and leader; and
  • Seventeen courses, developed with reference to the terms of Directive 4.2.1: “Teaching Quality Standard Applicable to the Provision of Basic Education in Alberta” as specified by Alberta Education and with reference to best practices in Alberta universities including:
    • Eight courses in Education Curriculum and Methodology,three courses in Educational Philosophy,three courses in Educational Foundations, four courses in intensive Education Field Practicum; one course in Foundational knowledge of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities.

All courses in any one curriculum sequence (Educational Curriculum and Methodology, Educational Foundations, Educational Philosophy, Education Field Practicum) are delivered in a “spiral acceleration format.” There is an assumption that preliminary knowledge, skills and attributes have been achieved. This requires attainment of “mastery levels” of skill and knowledge in each preliminary course, such that instruction in the next course in that sequence will proceed independently. Instruction will be delivered by a judicious combination of full-time core education faculty members and experienced field practitioners who have all completed graduate degrees in education and have extensive experience as teachers and/or administrators.