University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu

Secondary Education


The UH West O‘ahu Bachelor of Education degree with a concentration in Secondary Education, grades 6-12, prepares knowledgeable, skillful, responsive educators for a global society. Studies encompass an innovative, field-based teacher preparation program, as well as public service activities that support West O‘ahu communities. This area of concentration is especially designed for teacher candidates who wish to specialize in teaching the English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and/or Biology at both middle and high school levels, grades 6-12. A strong liberal arts curriculum supports candidates’ excellent knowledge of content in the chosen discipline.

Throughout their program of study, teacher candidates participate in over 630 hours of field-based coursework, including the early field experience, service learning, Introduction to Middle-level and Secondary Education, and two practicums taken concurrently with content methods courses. The program culminates in a 15-week, full-time high school student teaching semester in the chosen field. Field placements occur in middle and high schools island-wide and especially in Central and Leeward O‘ahu and on the Wai‘anae Coast. Faculty deliver courses on-campus and online, while maintaining flexible scheduling to accommodate teacher candidates’ busy lives. Upon successful of their program of study, the Education Division recommends the B.Ed graduate for licensure by the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board.


Teaching is a rewarding career that provides benefits and job security in an era of teacher shortages across the United States. Teachers often continue their professional development via graduate programs in education, including master’s and doctorate degree programs in curriculum and instruction or specialized fields in literacy, special education, and English language learners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for middle school teachers is $55,050. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education reported the starting salary for teachers as $45,159 for the 2015-16 school year.

Graduates find teaching positions in public and private schools; coordinate education programs for public and private sectors, such as museums, libraries, YMCA, and community centers; and serve as consultants to industries. Once licensed in Hawai‘i, secondary school teachers may seek reciprocal certification in all states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.


EDEF 200/201 Introduction to Teaching as a Career and Early Field Experience
These courses examine the process of becoming a highly qualified teacher in the State of Hawai‘i. The Early Field Experience places teacher candidates in an elementary school classroom, K-6, for a minimum of 45 hours, under the guidance of a mentor teacher.

SPED 304 Foundations of Inclusive Schooling
This course explores historical, legal, social, political and economic foundations of Special Education. Candidates learn strategies to work effectively with students with disabilities, their families, and professionals, in efforts to understand and support the culture of disability. 20 hours of service learning are required.

EDEF 310 Education in American Society
This course examines historical, political, philosophical, sociological, and ethical factors influencing education in today’s global society. Particular emphasis is placed on contemporary problems and applications in the context of service to the local community. Students complete 20 hours of Service Learning, , utilizing cultural and scientific community resources.

EDEF 345 Introduction to Middle-level and Secondary Education
Introduces concepts and methods related to middle-level and secondary teaching and learning, including adolescent development, identity, and middle-level/secondary pedagogy and philosophy. The course includes a 45-hour field placement where candidates will gain experience in a middle school English, Social Studies, Math, or General Science classroom, under the mentorship of the classroom teacher.

EDEF 404 Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
This course provides an in-depth awareness of methods for English language learners. Students examine accommodative instructional methods, research program models, learn second language acquisition and readiness theories, as well as put in to practice various differentiated instructional strategies for culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

EDEE 492 Student Teaching Seminar: Ethics Focus
This course examines current issues in education, including contemporary ethical issues and fulfills the Ethics (E-focus) graduation requirement. Teacher candidates continue to refine their knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions, in the context of their field-based student teaching experience, which in turn informs discussions that take place during the on-campus seminar.


With guidance from their classroom mentor teacher and university supervisor, candidates complete their required 630 hours of field-based coursework in partner high schools, including but not limited to the following:

  • Kapolei High School
  • Campbell High School
  • Nanakuli High School
  • Leilehua High School
  • Waipahu High School


The UH West O‘ahu Education Club is a wonderful opportunity for teacher candidates to gain an even greater understanding of the education field and participate in community service projects, workshops, social activities and more. The club supports literacy causes and raises monetary and book donations that benefit lending libraries and local area elementary, middle, and high schools.


Dr. Mary Heller, Professor & Chair, Division of Education
(808) 689-2339