Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to investigate curricular patterns for general education requirements in elementary teacher education during the period 1970-1990 and to examine the general education of elementary education seniors at the University of North Dakota in 1987-88 within the framework of changing views of the purposes of general education in teacher education.

Students were selected randomly from a list of seniors majoring in elementary education, elementary/early childhood education and elementary/special education during spring semester of 1988. Sixty students were contacted by telephone and interviewed during the final two weeks of the spring semester. Twenty-one faculty members whose names were provided by the department chairs were interviewed in person by the researcher during the final two weeks of the spring semester of 1988.

Students reported selecting courses to fill the requirement more often in areas where there were few offerings available. Interest in the content was the reason most frequently given by students to account for course selection. Students recommended courses which they felt would have the most impact on preparation to teach. They valued courses viewed as relevant to their future profession and courses which were well taught. The main function of General Education Requirements were perceived as providing subject matter background or content by 33% of the students and 67% of the faculty.

The University of North Dakota accomplished many curricular milestones at the same time as other American institutions of higher learning and the General Education Requirements had many things in common with these institutions and exceeded the requirements set by some other universities. Many of the recommendations of the students and faculty surveyed paralleled the recommendations advanced by the reform organizations.

It is recommended that the students and faculty maintain a common understanding of the purpose of each element of the program, that the strong liberal arts features of the program be maintained, and that the curriculum be continuously monitored.