Contact Information

Elliott Johnson
Assistant Professor of Education
Education Department Head

Koren 102
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa  52101

Phone: 563-387-1450

Current Student Information

Get more information on topics relating to the student teaching experience and other education-related learning opportunities at Luther College.

The Luther Teacher Education Program begins in the student’s first year with a Clinical Experience I in area schools. This practicum serves as an opportunity for students to discern their potential and interest in teaching as a career. All education majors and minors are required to have practica in a variety of school communities. Teacher candidates are encouraged to complete their required Clinical Experience II – Advanced Methods in a diverse setting that allows them to experience teaching from another perspective.

The culminating experience of the Teacher Education Program is a full professional semester (minimum of 14 weeks; 8 week placements are possible if needed for your particular state) of student teaching. College professors, along with cooperating K-12 teachers, work with student teachers in a collaborative environment to enhance their professional development and to successfully complete a professional teaching portfolio.

Primary licensure areas:

  • Elementary education major
  • Secondary education minor
  • K-12 music education major

If you have not done so already, it is recommended that before registration, you speak with a professor in the Education Department, so you get started on the path to licensure in a way that serves you best.

Exploratory Clinical in Local Schools

This introductory practicum is early in the program so you have the opportunity to “try on teaching.” In this practicum, you work with one teacher during January term.

The experience focuses on observation and reflection, and offers opportunities for beginning teaching practice. Students journal with their professors regularly during the practicum and meet in seminars on campus to share their experiences.

The online application deadline has passed.

Please stop by Jennifer Olufsen’s office (Koren 122) or email her at if you have questions or a late application.

What to Expect

You will be in the classroom approximately 80 hours during the month of January. You will actively observe and may assist, tutor, teach small groups, and perhaps even teach a few whole group lessons.

You will also be on campus in seminars to process your experiences with the guidance of your seminar leader, a faculty member in the education department.

Students taking this course in January must complete the online application above by Oct. 2, 2023.

There is a course fee assessed to all students registered for EDUC 115. This course fee covers transportation, background checks, 1-year subscription to Anthology (FR) or a 5-year subscription to Anthology (SO) and other administrative fees associated with this course.

Students will use Luther fleet vehicles to commute to the schools.

Driver Information

It is very important to the success of the EDUC 115 J-Term experience that we have student drivers. We need as many student drivers certified to drive as possible. The Education Department uses almost 20 Luther fleet vehicles during the J-Term practicum. This includes four large 12-passenger vans.

Some of the main things are:

  1. You must be 18 years old
  2. You must have had a valid driver’s license for at least 2 years
  3. You must have health insurance coverage
  4. You must watch a video and pass a short quiz
  5. If you are willing to drive a large van you must be 20 years old and pass a driving test

Please read all of the information provided regarding driving a Luther fleet vehicle so that you are well informed about the position.

To complete the driver certification process you need to physically go to the Facilities Services Office.

You may also contact Renee Gunderson if you have any questions or concerns.

All students will have a Luther background check processed before they will be allowed into the schools.

Stay on top of things happening in the Education Department by bookmarking this calendar of events.

2023-2024 Ed Dept Calendar of Events

Put Your Knowledge Into Practice

With the learning from the fall methods course experiences, you are ready to do more than observe and assist, you will develop and teach a mini-unit. Unlike some education programs where the methods practicum extends over a semester, a few hours each week, Luther’s unique teaching calendar year sequence (fall semester, January term, spring semester) allows you to experience a concentrated, 3-week, full-time practicum the January of your methods coursework year. You will be taking an active role in this practicum, including participation in professional opportunities and interaction with parents.

Experiencing Diversity

Choose a placement with demographic characteristics different from your first practicum (EDUC 115) and different from what you anticipate your student teaching practicum to be. Consider the schools location (state; urban; suburban; rural); school district/school enrollment; SES (Title I; percentage of free/reduced lunch); racial/ethnicity; percentage of English Language Learners. The greater the variety of school communities you experience during your teacher education program is evidence you have firsthand knowledge of different types of challenges. The hope is you will be a stronger and more flexible first year teacher. Suggest a school district literally anywhere in the United States. The field placement officer will work with you to coordinate that placement.

Advanced Methods Course Descriptions

EDUC 321 (Literacy) & EDUC 322 (Math) – K-6 Elem Education Major

As a part of the elementary/middle school education sequence the student observes and teaches small and large groups of students in a classroom in the area of literacy. During the clinical experience the student develops and teaches a unit that documents the planning, teaching, assessment and reflection of literacy and/or area of mathematics protocols.

MUED 361 – K-12 Music Education Major

This practicum is taken as part of the methods practicum sequence. Students work under the direction of a cooperating teacher and plan, teach, rehearse, and reflect on the teaching of music in a vocal/orchestra/band program at the elementary, middle/high school level. Course objectives are formulated from the core competencies of the teacher education program at Luther College.

EDUC 366 – 5-12 Secondary Education Minor

Advanced study of secondary teaching methods for students seeking licensure in English, mathematics, areas of science, and fields of social science. Study of special methods used to teach the individual’s major subject area. Teaching methods and professional participation in one’s academic discipline will be covered, as well as inclusion of special education students in a regular classroom and applications of technology. As a part of the secondary education methods course sequence, the student observes and teaches small and large groups of students in a public/private school classroom in the discipline. During the three-week practicum, the student develops and teaches a unit to document planning, teaching, assessment, and reflection protocols.

Note: Taken during the January term, this course would meet the January II general graduation requirement, and if placed in a middle school classroom would meet the clinical requirement for the middle school endorsement.

Luther College’s clinical field experience program requires all students to be screened for any history of criminal behavior. Students are required to follow the guidelines set by the school their placement is located in for this process. If the school does not have a system in place by which the student can complete this requirement, Luther College will process an extensive National background check for the student. The student will be required to pay the processing fee and submit the completed report to the school. This background check will include:

  • National Sex Offender Registry
  • National Criminal Database
  • Criminal Search – by County (including Winneshiek County)
  • ID Trace Pro

To begin this process please visit the Luther online candidate verification center website. Make sure to pick “Education” so that Renee Gunderson receives your authorization form.

Luther College is not responsible for students who are denied access to agencies requiring proof of a background check prior to working with their children.

The purpose of the Luther College TEP Portfolio System is two-fold.

To show growth over time with respect to the 2011 InTASC Standards.

To develop candidates’ ability to articulate good teaching, citing evidence to support their understanding and application of what good teachers do.

The InTASC Standards were developed by the Chief State School Officers. These standards describe what teachers need to know, understand, and be able to do. Most states require their teacher candidates to demonstrate application of these standards as part of the expectations for licensure.

During the first 200-level Education course, candidates will learn about the Anthology system and be required to purchase a subscription. In this electronic portfolio, clinical placement information will be recorded, and candidates will document their learning throughout the education program.

Introductory Portfolio

The Introductory Portfolio includes evidence of candidates’ understanding of the InTASC standards. Artifacts (assignments) completed in the 200-level coursework and submitted to the portfolio show this understanding, which is foundational to the learning in the 300-level advanced methods coursework.

Developing Portfolio

The Developing Portfolio includes evidence of the candidates’ beginning application of the InTASC standards in the year of advanced methods coursework and the J-term clinical experience, where they deepen their understanding of planning, teaching, assessing, and reflection. Artifact evidence should be from application experiences and include use of academic language that will facilitate professional conversations on teaching and learning.

Some candidates complete a performance assessment (e.g. edTPA) during student teaching or their first year of teaching. The Developing Portfolio is a significant opportunity to prepare candidates for performance assessments.

Advanced Portfolio

In the Advanced Portfolio, candidates show their readiness to teach during the student teaching experience. The application and articulation of planning, teaching, assessing, reflection, and the use of academic language demonstrate readiness to teach.

Additional Information

Currently, teacher candidates can access their Anthology portfolio and clinical placement information forever. Once their subscription has expired, they can still access the information but they cannot add anything. They do have the option, through Anthology, to purchase additional subscriptions.

Questions regarding the portfolio system should be directed to Rebecca Newhouse, Assessment Coordinator, at or call her at (563) 387-1543.

Questions regarding the clinical placement information or technical issues, should be directed to Renee Gunderson at or call her at (563) 387-1140.

View TEP Flowchart

Student Teaching Practicum

As a teacher, you will encounter students from all walks of life. Your ability to work with a wide range of students will be key to your success as a teacher in the 21st century. In addition to your methods practicum, we encourage you to continue to experience more diversity during student teaching. You will have at least two seven-week student teaching placements.

Choose to student teach close to home; in another state; in another part of the world. Ask the field placement officer for suggestions. Also, you can suggest a school district anywhere in the United States. The field placement officer will work with you to coordinate placements that make sense for you.

Hub 1: Main Partners

The Education Dept. has worked with most school districts in a 75-100 mile (2 hour) radius of campus from SE Minnesota, SW Wisconsin, NW Illinois, and NE and NC Iowa. This encompasses the area reaching…

  • South to Dubuque, IA; Waterloo, IA; Cedar Rapids, IA 
  • West to  Clear Lake, IA; Mason City, IA; Forest City, IA 
  • East to Lansing, IA; Prairie du Chien, WI; Dodgeville, WI, Galena, IL 
  • North to La Crosse, WI, Austin, MN, Winona, MN; Rochester, MN.

The Hub 1 radius offers our most experienced Luther Supervisors who offer the strongest guidance and support, along with a broad variety of schools that offer diversity in school climate, culture, and size.

Hub 2:  Extended Partners

The Education Dept. has also worked with many districts in metro areas. Our regular partners are found in the metro areas of Saint Paul, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Cedar Rapids, IA; Des Moines, IA; Dubuque, IA; Chicago, IL.

Hub 3: Affiliates

Kuskokwim, Alaska (Lower Kuskokwim District for 1 placement)

Houston, Texas (Spring Branch District) 

Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Center for the semester)

Canyons, Utah (Canyons District)

Some of the Luther Education affiliate programs offer housing and college supervisor arrangements. Alaska also provides round trip transportation.

Hub 4: Special Requests

Students may apply for a special site request at a location outside of Hubs 1-3. This application will be reviewed for approval. This hub includes International placements, which also require department chair approval. Aside from international placements, it’s recommended that students have their first placement site in a Hub 1 or 2 school before going on to an Adventure Request site in their 2nd placement. Special requests require more processing time in order to arrange for a school contract, compliance with the state of Iowa requirements, transportation, supervision, & housing. While we will make an effort to secure a placement in alternative locations for approved applications, we cannot guarantee a placement or the same level of support and guidance as we can in other Hubs.

Luther College faculty and staff have developed relationships with international school district partners. Education students at Luther have the opportunity to complete clinical experiences at these diverse schools.

About the Program

  • Provides an authentic cultural experience
  • Students work with the Luther Center for Global Learning to arrange details for studying abroad
  • The focus of the trip is the teaching experience in international or area schools
  • When free time allows, students are encouraged to take part in sightseeing and experience the local culture

General Requirements

  • Overall GPA of 3.0+
  • Previous demonstrated interest in international studies
  • Three letters of recommendation (one from a methods professor)

Additional Costs

  • $800 placement fee*
  • Travel to/from the destination
  • Housing
  • Incidentals: food, entertainment, personal expenses

*Students may be eligible for a Monson Scholarship to help defray program costs.

Application Deadline

  • October 1st prior to the year of your student teaching (some schools require additional direct application to the school).

Expected Characteristics

  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Self-Direction
  • Confidence
  • Personable
  • Adventuresome

Interested in Teaching Abroad after Graduating?

If you complete all the requirements of the Luther College Teacher Education Program (TEP) for the areas of teaching you wish to be licensed, you will be a “completer” of our TEP and entitled to an Iowa teaching license when you submit the application for Iowa licensure at the end of that semester.

Each state has its own licensure requirements. States constantly review, revise, and update their rules and regulations. For that reason, we do not post licensure requirements for other states. We cannot guarantee licensure in a state other than Iowa.

We do our best to keep up with the requirements in the states that border Iowa, but only Iowa alerts us to changes in its rules and requirements. If you successfully meet the requirements of Luther College’s TEP, Iowa licensure is assured upon completion semester.

If you want licensure in a state other than Iowa, keep looking at that state’s website to stay on top of the changes. This is the student’s responsibility. Below are links to the states where most of our candidates apply for licensure. Each link takes you to the state’s teacher licensure website. Be sure to notice the state’s testing requirements.

Bring the information from the website(s) to your education advisor. With this information, the advisor can help you plan your Luther program to meet as many of these requirements as possible.

To find information for a state not listed above, Google: (State Name) Department of Education or Teacher Licensure (State Name).

So far, when our “completers” have passed the particular licensure test(s) the state requires, all of our completers have been granted a “provisional” or “initial” license in the states to which they have applied for licensure, even when there was a course or two required by the state our “completers” had not yet taken. Persons with a “provisional” or “initial” license usually have at least a year or two to complete the additional requirements after their initial application.

Luther College’s Teacher Education Department Professional Licensure Disclosure

Contact Information

Elliott Johnson
Assistant Professor of Education
Education Department Head

Koren 102
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa  52101

Phone: 563-387-1450