A Reputation for Excellence:

St. Mary’s University’s Bachelor of Education Program is proud of our sterling reputation for graduating excellent teachers who are well-prepared to be effective teachers on day one of their teaching careers. The quality of our graduates is further punctuated by the long list of district and regional winners of the Edwin Parr Teacher Award for outstanding first-year teachers who have come out of our program. Our reputation for fostering the development of excellent teachers means that our graduates are sought after by Catholic and Public districts and international organizations seeking teachers for overseas positions. St. Mary’s students’ strong reputation in the education community translates into employability. Nearly all graduates in the most recent graduating class secured employment before the start of September, and over 50% had job offers before they had even completed their final practicum.

Program Overview:

The two-year Bachelor of Education (Elementary & Secondary Streams) After-Degree program at St. Mary’s University is designed to prepare teachers to teach at the elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) levels 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 Alberta and beyond, with particular reference to the unique environment of the Catholic school system in Alberta. Instruction is delivered by a combination of core education faculty members and experienced field practitioners who have attained advanced academic training in educational studies combined with extensive experience as teachers in Canadian schools. Our innovative curriculum blends theory, practice, and reflection, from highly qualified professors. A robust teaching practicum requirement in each semester of the program ensures graduates leave with highly practical and up-to-date teaching approaches.

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 coursework, practicum teaching, and ongoing professionalization runs as a cohort-based model which aims to foster communities of practice built on trust and high-quality educational dialogue. We are a program dedicated to fostering stewards of the teaching profession who see the importance of holistic education that connects heart, mind, body, and spirit in honoring the uniqueness of each learner. Further, our program provides foundational learning for understanding the context of our First Nation communities and our histories as a process of reconciliation and healing dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for Indigenous students and a place of intentional and meaningful dialogue for all.

B.Ed. Mission Statement:

St. Mary’s University Bachelor of Education program supports the development of new teachers who are
leaders in holistic teacher education rooted in ethical and responsive praxis.

Holistic education refers to the idea that teachers are professionals responsible for more than just teaching content. Rather, teachers are stewards of the growth and development of children whose needs require us to support them mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our program provides teachers with the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes they need to provide their students with a robust, holistic education.
Praxis refers to the process through which theory and practice interact, test each other, and lead to meaningful changes in response to the evolving needs of the children and society we serve. We have an ethical responsibility to continue to seek ways to improve the quality of education we can provide. It is not ethical for teachers to continue using the practices of the past if they do not meet the needs of the students in front of them. Our dedication to praxis is a key reason that our students engage in innovative, evidence-based coursework as well as a practicum every semester while they are at St. Mary’s.

Program Features & Opportunities:

Our cohort model is a signature feature of our program that students and graduates indicate as a key factor in their success. When students enter our program, they are placed with a cohort of their peers who will remain together throughout the entire program. Except for the two subject-specialization courses that secondary preservice teachers take, students in a cohort will attend all their classes together. This allows students to develop deep and trusting relationships, take productive risks, and build supportive, collegial networks. In a word, cohorts help us to cultivate the conditions preservice teachers need to learn most effectively while providing them the skills they need to work well as part of a professional staff. We believe the cohort model is a key reason why our students are so in demand when they graduate.
St. Mary’s collaborates with all of the school boards in and surrounding Calgary to offer practicum placements in each of the four semesters of the program. These practica span a total of 26 full-time weeks in which students are typically placed in three different schools. These experiences offer supervised hands-on training that supports preservice teachers’ development as they progress through the program. In each practicum experience, students are supported by the mentorship of a classroom
teacher and a university practicum advisor who provide feedback and guidance.

In addition to in-province practicum placements, St. Mary’s University offers its Education students international and out-of-province experiences for their third practicum. These opportunities have taken place in Mexico, Taiwan, and British Columbia (Catholic Independent Schools of Prince George).

At St. Mary’s University, we offer two specialization programs that our students may opt to participate in: The Teacher Leader Project and French Pedagogy specializations offer unique programming opportunities to St. Mary’s education students that are not available anywhere else in the province. Additionally, all St. Mary’s graduates who specialized in these streams have been offered employment within a few weeks of applying to the districts of their choice.
Our Teacher Leader Project specialization provides additional practicum time teaching hands-on in the classroom at the same school for the entirety of the program, where they will develop strong relationships and provide a service to the schools where they work.

Participating preservice teachers receive sustained mentorship from their practicum site, community, and dedicated Practicum Advisor. At the same time, they take on the role of researchers by investigating strategies to enhance and support the school experience. For this research, pre-service and their mentors will pay careful attention to their school environments to better understand how fostering an intentional community of learners might inspire “bright spots” in teaching and learning.

The results so far have been incredible, with graduates from this program have gone on to win teaching awards, present their work at conferences, apply to graduate school, and feel confident that they are valuable members of their school communities.

Our French Language Pedagogy Specialization supports students who speak French by providing them additional practicum time teaching hands-on in the classroom and student-led research in a designated immersion school. Participating preservice teachers receive sustained mentorship from their practicum site, community, language instructor, and dedicated Practicum Advisor.

Students who are successfully placed in this program are given enrichment opportunities to develop their French Language skills and their understanding of the pedagogy of teaching French in an immersion setting.

French Immersion schools in Alberta always look for bright new teachers, but this in-demand skill can often be hard to find. The Federal Government estimates that only 7% of Albertans are fluent in French. This means that students in our B.Ed. program with the gift of a second language possess a niche and critical skill are highly sought after by schools that have a high demand for talented bilingual teachers.

Select a program for more information: