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Elementary Education


The UH West O‘ahu Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree with a concentration in Elementary Education, K-6, 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, in particular.

Throughout their program of study, teacher candidates participate in over 630 hours of field-based coursework, ranging from the early field experience, to service learning, to three practicums taken concurrently with methods courses. The program culminates in a 15-week, full-time professional student teaching semester with seminar. Field placements occur in elementary 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 completion of the program, the Education Division recommends B.Ed graduates for an Elementary (K-6) teaching license 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 doctoral 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 (2012 data), the median salary for K-6 elementary school teachers is $53,090 per year. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education reports 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, Elementary Education classroom teachers may seek reciprocal certification in all 50 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 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 elementary schools, including but not limited to the following:


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