McKay School of Education
We need to educate more deeply and more powerfully than we have ever done before—more than anyone has ever done before.” —Elder Kim B. Clark

Students in the David O. McKay School of Education will find opportunities to participate in faculty-mentored research; to become “arts scholars” who teach music, media, dance, drama, or visual arts in elementary classrooms; to become involved in reading or science workshops or projects for children; and to gradually take on more teaching responsibility.

The McKay School offers undergraduate degrees in elementary education, early childhood education, special education, physical education, teacher education, and communication disorders

Students Elizabeth Olsen and Kalie Peck recently found themselves surprised but prepared to teach 37 sixth-grade students!

Teacher Education

Those interested in elementary education, early childhood education, and physical education/coaching will find those programs offered through the Department of Teacher Education. Faculty help prepare them to be competent, caring, and reflective teachers who will facilitate the growth and development of children and youth in schools. Students with second-language experience can minor in dual-language immersion, which will prepare them to teach in classrooms where two languages are spoken. 

Professor David Barney has studied PE and the positive or negative experiences students glean from their gym class experiences. In two recent studies, he found that there are things educators can do to significantly improve outcomes. The importance of this research impacts students well beyond their childhood. Having a good experience in PE can correlate with a person’s long-term physical well-being. Research from BYU psychologists published in 2014 showed that kids who are teased in PE class exercise less a year later.

The Power of Teaching Lecture Series allows students to learn from experienced educators in a variety of fields. They can see why others have selected this path and learn what makes the career rewarding. Professor Todd Pennington recently spoke on the value of motivating each student and seeing who is behind the desk. He discussed how his teachers looked beyond the surface and saw his potential. Teachers must see students for what they can become.

Special Education

Students who want to nurture the life potential of individuals with disabilities may choose special education. Faculty members provide a collaborative, evidence-based approach to serving individuals with diverse strengths as well as needs. Students may choose to emphasize teaching students with disabilities that are (a) mild-moderate or (b) severe.

Professor Blake Hansen is internationally recognized for his research in combining rewards with social and academic skill instructions. He is helping students with developmental and intellectual disabilities increase their skills to self-evaluate by monitoring their own behavior through self-management interventions

Several members of the Counseling Psychology and Special Education Department faculty participate on the BYU Autism Connect research team. A recent project found clues that show the link between brain stem volume and aggression in autism—clues the team hopes will eventually lead to more effective intervention. In their study, published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, they report an inverse correlation between aggression and brain stem volume in children with autism: the smaller the brain stem, the greater the likelihood of aggression.

Communication Disorders

A major in communication disorders prepares students with solid academic knowledge and strong qualifications to go on to graduate work and become speech-language pathologists or audiologists. This limited-enrollment introductory program provides a background in communication disorders and instructs students in instrumentation and data collection procedures in areas concerning language, speech, and hearing. 

Professor Shawn Nissen is known as one who always has students coming into his office. He is internationally recognized for his research in speech production, cross-linguistic communication, and rehabilitation from traumatic brain injury. He has developed audiometry testing materials in many languages to help identify hearing impairments in non-English speakers. He has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as well as awarded by the McKay School for his teaching.

Visit the McKay School website for more information about these programs and the possibilities that await students eager to learn and serve others.