"Teaching Future Teachers" by Dr. Marya Levenson in the Loomis Chaffee Magazine
The Secondary (Middle & High School) Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a cohorted, full time program that meets from June in the first year through July in the second year, leading to the MAT degree and the initial Massachusetts teaching license for those in Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, English, History, Math, or Physics. There is also an MAT – Bible/Tanakh.
The program is structured as follows:
- Secondary MAT students further their knowledge of their specific subject matter in four Brandeis courses, while also learning about pedagogy and practice with Brandeis professors and master teachers in our affiliated secondary schools.
- Five essential questions provide the framework for our education courses:
- What does it mean to learn and what does it mean to teach?
- What does it mean to know?
- What gives you the right to teach someone else’s child?
- Are we teaching for now or later?
- Can education be democratic?
- Formal coursework and guided practice in schools are integrated.
- Each secondary and middle school MAT student is placed in a school and assigned an experienced mentor teacher for a year-long internship: in-school pre-practicum two days a week in the fall; full time practicum during the spring semester.
- Partnership schools (public or charter urban or suburban, Jewish day school) serve diverse populations. Together we examine the similarities and differences between teaching in these diverse schools.
See the year-at-a-glance outline for the secondary school concentrations.
MAT students also meet in a monthly Advisory Seminar.
Intensive internships are an integral part of the MAT program. In the fall semester, students spend two days a week in the classroom and in spring semester, five days a week. Students are responsible for their own transportation. The program arranges placements in public or Jewish day school, in districts such as Arlington, Belmont, Framingham, Newton, and Waltham. The field experience is supported by regular mentoring from school personnel and a weekly reflective teaching seminar that examines such topics as curriculum development, classroom environment, teaching strategies, and assessment.
As a culminating project, students design, conduct, and report on a classroom-based inquiry project, often a form of “action research.” Successful completion of the project is a requirement for the degree. In the second summer semester, students present their findings to faculty, friends and colleagues.