Reimagining the MAT Teacher Preparation Curriculum

On the heels of introducing our new education major and education minor programs, the Colorado College Education Department is in the process of redesigning its Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) curriculum in time for the 2015-16 academic year. Over the past few decades teacher preparation curricula have been based on the behaviorist/scholarly/academic model of teacher preparation, which places mastery of content area first and foremost.

By contrast, Colorado College’s restructured MAT curriculum employs a learner-centered model which emphasizes a developmental perspective and the learning of pedagogy in order to be a great teacher of one’s discipline. The new CC MAT model focuses on teacher dispositions as well as identifying personal characteristics and mechanisms that lend themselves beyond mere survival and toward teacher “thrival” in the classroom.

The learner-centered model of teacher preparation is another example of CC’s Education Department being on the cutting edge. Other institutions such as the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are looking to our redesign as a model for restructuring teacher preparation, featuring an undergraduate major in education paired with a learner-centered graduate program.

2 thoughts on “Reimagining the MAT Teacher Preparation Curriculum

  1. This sounds interesting, and brings about lots of discussion points…. But also spurs reflection on my own journey. As a 1990 graduate of CC’s MAT program, I have enjoyed tremendous success in the field of education…. I’ve been a classroom teacher since the moment I left CC. I have always been astounded by the prestige placed on my degree. Having worked across the country, I have always been pleased when interviewers mention “Oh…. You’re a graduate of CC’s MAT program…. That’s impressive.”
    Even now, as I mentor and lecture with teacher preparation programs here in the Northwest, I am humbled by the positive comments surrounding my personal journey…. One that is deeply rooted in the remarkable (and cutting edge…) program at CC. Respected collegues in the field of education always seem to be very aware of the innovative program I am so proud to be a product of.
    It is interesting to me that the program is looking to grow and change…. At the same time that I myself, am reflecting on what steps I need to take in order to continue thriving in the field I have been called into….. It’s not alway easy, believe me. With all he focused attention on testing, Common Core, and accountability, I struggle with maintaining my own sense of wonder….. And the question, “Is teaching still my true calling….. Am I making the biggest and most positive impact I can?”
    CC truly helped me to live up to the somewhat frightening calling of becoming an educator…. I wanted very much to be an excellent, teacher…. One who brought the wonder of learning to my students in a creative, nourishing way. CC helped me step into my own potential… confidently, and with great success.
    I hope that the inspirations guiding the changes in the MAT program will remain rooted in innovation and belief that an individual’s gifts are the basic fuel by which the journey begins. Please continue to celebrate and encourage the individual spirit and dreams of our future educators…. Both for the health of diverse learning, but also so that older teachers (like yours truly…) will feel good about turning over the reins to the next generation of educators…… And of course, so that we can enjoy lively, vibrant, humorous, and meaningful conversations with our new colleagues!
    All the best to you, as you work on this important mission! My admiration and great appreciation for CC and it’s MAT program remain strong!

    Best regards always,
    Danforth (Dano) Beal

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