Adding New Subjects to Your Credential

By Jeff Nazzaro

For California educators looking to expand their teaching repertoires, along with their reach in the classroom, UCR University Extension conducts six different Content Specific Pedagogy courses. The courses are approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to fulfill Demonstration of Subject Matter Requirements, and after passing the appropriate CSET exam(s), allow teachers to add new subjects to Clear Multiple and Single Subject (with an EL authorization) Credentials.

Each of the six affordable, six-week courses are offered twice a year and include Curriculum Theory and Methods: Content Specific Pedagogy for Secondary English Language Arts; Secondary History/Social Science; Secondary Mathematics; Secondary Sciences; and Secondary World Languages. Additionally, there is a course on Methods for Teaching Reading.

“Each of the six affordable courses are offered twice a year…”

As is typical of UCR University Extension Professional Studies programs, the instructors are all experienced working professionals, in this case plying their trade in public and private school classrooms, teaching in both in-person and online modalities.

Gabrielle Ladner-Mejia, a math teacher at Liberty High School, in the Perris Union High School District, teaches Curriculum Theory and Methods: Content Specific Pedagogy for Secondary Math. “These courses are important for teachers,” she said, “not only because they equip them with the knowledge to teach a new subject but also because they help them explore how to teach a new subject.” Indeed, the courses are designed to guide teachers in creating engaging lessons, aligned with Common Core standards, that connect what is being learned to what students already know.

“The courses guide teachers in creating engaging lessons…”

“UCR University Extension pedagogy courses are a great choice for students because the instructors are often K–12 teachers themselves, ready to share timeless—as well as current—best practices,” Gabrielle said. “The pedagogy courses are grounded in practical, research-based instructional methodologies.”

Lindsay Stotts is an Advanced Placement and Middle Years Program chemistry teacher in the Corona-Norco Unified School District, where she is a Professional Learning Community Team Leader for the Chemistry Department, working with other teachers to design, coordinate, and implement labs and curriculum. At UCR University Extension, she teaches Curriculum Theory and Methods: Content Specific Pedagogy for Secondary Sciences.

“The instructors are all experienced working professionals…”

Explained Lindsay, “The pedagogy courses are perfect for working educators because of their shorter time commitments, compared with similar programs and the helpful and responsive student services support team.” The online format, she noted, serves students from all over California and beyond.

“UCR University Extension professional development courses are an ideal choice for teachers because the courses are asynchronous and online, which allows for the flexibility that busy teachers need in their schedule,” Lindsay said. “These courses provide the crucial pedagogy tools teachers of that subject need to be familiar with. Instructors are responsive and supportive, and the curriculum has participants leaving with a product that they can implement in their courses.”

Vanessa Bowley, who teaches high school English for the online-based EdOptions Academy, and Curriculum Theory and Methods: Content Specific Pedagogy for Secondary English Language Arts at UCR University Extension, loves the breadth of options available for teachers through the course offerings, along with the classroom-applicable content.

“The pedagogy courses at UCR University Extension give teachers expertise in multiple areas within the field of education,” said Vanessa. “Educators will walk away with a repertoire of resources and strategies they can use in their classrooms. My favorite component in the course is the Unit Lesson Design project. I love assisting educators as they create an English unit of study they can use practically.”

“Educators will walk away with a repertoire of resources and strategies…”

That practical applicability, undergirded with theoretical knowledge, is invaluable to educators; but perhaps the best part about these pedagogy courses is that they comprise six content-packed weeks of teachers teaching teachers on teaching, which results in a real sense of collaboration and camaraderie.

“I enjoy being an instructor for the Secondary Sciences course because I find it an amazing and inspirational experience every session to meet teachers from all different backgrounds exploring their interest in science instruction,” said Lindsay. “It provides so many new points of view on science, and everyone brings different knowledge and experience to share with the other participants. It is so exciting for me to join them on their journey to becoming a science instructor, and adding to their credential, so that they can inspire the next generation of science students.”

Vanessa concurred, adding, “I thoroughly enjoy teaching these courses because of the incredible teachers who enroll. Their dedication to their students and their passion for the subject matter is truly inspiring.”