MAT ACADEMICS

 

CORE EDUCATION COURSES

The following is a list of Core Education courses:

 

Issues in Teaching and Learning 9205515 (2 Credits)

This course explores the thinking of some of the major early 20th-century theorists in learning and investigates how this thinking has influenced the development of contemporary learning theories. Both the earlier and the later perspectives are examined regarding assumptions, approaches, conclusions, and implications for learning and instruction. Constructivist and social development theories are examined as the basis of a number of learning theories developed over the past 30 to 40 years. This analysis supports students in examining and questioning their own assumptions about education and learning; in better understanding the basis of culturally prevalent views; and in exploring the conversation between theory, research, and practice. This critical interaction becomes increasingly relevant as students anticipate their initial field experiences as teachers.

 

Motivation and Assessment 9205528 (3 Credits)

This course is designed as an overview of motivational research in psychology and education. The course focuses specifically on different theories of motivation, and how classroom, school, work, and social environments shape and influence individuals’ motivation. In addition, we will examine how assessment can be used to motivate students to learn actively. The readings for this course include a combination of theoretical and empirical studies. In addition, we will be using Pintrich and Schunk’s text, Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Class discussions will focus on five major issues: theoretical, empirical, developmental, pedagogical, and synthesis. The objectives of the course include the following: 1) Explore the major theories of motivation used in psychological and educational research (attribution theory, goal theory, expectancy X value theory, self-efficacy, self-regulation); 2) Identify research on motivation in psychology and education from multicultural perspectives; 3) Apply theoretical models of motivation to contemporary educational problems; 4) Apply motivation theory to assessment.

 

Cognition 9205529 (3 Credits)

This course is intended to cover topics in cognitive development, conceptual learning, and comprehension with special focus on areas, theory, and research that have potential application to education. Thus, the course will provide selective coverage of theoretical and empirical work in cognition that provides potential to inform and improve educational practice. The applicability of these themes to education will be explicitly developed and evaluated through the primary research literature. Based on the relevant literature, principles of learning will be established and applied to classroom practice. The principles of learning will be developed around three focal points: learning environment, instruction and individual learning

 

Identity, Culture, and the Classroom 9205531 (3 Credits)

In this course, students consider what it means for them to teach - and for adolescents to learn - in the context of contemporary society. The course focuses on identity development and how it is influenced by cultural dynamics around such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic factors, ability, ethnicity, and language. Students begin by exploring the concepts of identity and culture in broad terms. The purpose of the course is to move students toward a deeper understanding of the ways identity, culture, and schooling intersect so that they can develop a repertoire of reflective, analytical, and practical strategies to use in their ongoing work as teachers.

 

Curriculum and Instruction 9205530 (3 Credits)

This course emphasizes curriculum design and implementation by looking at how assessment protocols contribute to learning and answer essential questions about teaching practices. The course asks the question "What is it we teach in our subject area and how should we teach it?" Answering these questions prepares students for the work of instruction and planning as teachers in the public schools. Readings cover current educational research and curriculum theory; research focuses on the ways that the skills and contrarily, weaknesses of a particular discipline develop in the classroom setting.

 

Teaching as a Reflective Practice I 9205516 (3 credits)

This course focuses on teaching disciplines in secondary schools. Students make connections between the content taught in the education and discipline courses through the exploration of essential questions including the following: How can a teacher of a given discipline in secondary schools guide his or her students to become discipline-literate and to acquire the skills necessary to think accordingly? How can learning theories inform instruction for authentic learning of the discipline? How does one achieve these goals while coping with the constraints imposed by standardized curricula and state-mandated tests, short class periods, and large class sizes? How do we engage with the recurring tension between coverage and depth in curricula? In what ways can learning theories be used to develop authentic assessments? How can learning theories also help in the development of effective classroom management? Students analyze curricular standards and curricula, the Tawjihi exams in the diverse disciplines as well as standards set in various interim grade levels. The analysis includes discussion of the distinctions between middle school and high school discipline teaching. A certain amount of time is devoted to working with data gleaned from observations made in the schools. Students come to a seminar to present lessons or student work that has emerged from lessons and readings which would provide the context for critique and reflection. Finally, since this course is designed to be discipline specific, it is also the site for supporting the Classroom Research Project.

 

Teaching as a Reflective Practice II 9205517 (3 credits)

Previous work in instructional planning and assessment is put into practice in this course, which provides a forum for linking educational literature with research in the field as students begin their second teaching experience in the Palestinian schools. As they develop a plan for a formative evaluation of their classroom teaching, students have a critical opportunity to reflect on their work as teachers. Each student's evaluation plan addresses issues in learning, literacy, and individual learner needs within the context of teaching his or her discipline. Students in this course are expected to build on and extend the work begun in Teaching as a Reflective Practice I (9205516). In addition, this course continues to be a site for supporting the Classroom Research Project and development of project proposals.

 

Research Projects

Each student needs to develop and create two research projects that aim at demonstrating the knowledge and skills he/she has acquired during his/her graduate work.

 

Academic Research Project  9207599 (3 Credits)

Students in each field of study are required to complete an academic research project that engages them in inquiry and the development of knowledge in their discipline. The project represents an opportunity for students to pursue questions of personal interest while they engage in original work as independent scholars, under the guidance of a faculty adviser. The results of these projects are presented during symposia in the closing week of the program.

 

Classroom Research Project 9207598 (3 Credits)

This independent study course requires students to become teacher-researchers, examining the effects of particular practices or designs on student learning in the context of their particular field of study. Review of the pertinent literature, research design and implementation, analysis of data, and conclusions leading to further iterations build a practice of inquiry and reflection that are essential to developing best practices in education. These projects are collaboratively constructed with support from partner mentor teachers from the public schools who help develop the leading questions that provide the impetus for the research. Together, the MAT student apprentice and the mentor teacher construct a research design for implementation during the Fall or Spring semester. Typically, research questions investigate real questions about student learning in the context of authentic practices in the academic discipline. MAT faculty act as advisers to these projects, providing support throughout the process, from the initial development of research questions and literature reviews in the summer semester until the final “publication” of the research document at the end of the Spring semester.