Begun in 1990, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program at Towson University emphasizes the integration of a solid foundation of subject matter with the most current knowledge on teaching and learning. The program maintains national (NCATE) and state (MSDE) accreditation.
Successful completion of program requirements results in eligibility for initial state teaching certification as well as a Master’s degree. Graduates are successful teachers and school leaders in public schools throughout the state of Maryland and beyond. Both career changers and recent graduates find success in our program.
Becoming a teacher involves more than acquiring a knowledge base of specific teaching skills and competencies. To educate a teacher is to influence the premises upon which a teacher bases reflection and reasoning about teaching in specific situations. The teacher must be able to engage in inquiry and to identify the problems and issues in the classroom. To this end, the MAT program is carefully structured to provide course work required for licensure and a supportive induction to the complex world of teaching. Field experiences are planned to provide theory to practice connections throughout MAT course work. Many MAT faculty are experienced practitioners whose classroom expertise makes theory relevant and applicable. Professional Development School partnerships with local public schools provide rich opportunities for hands-on learning in real classrooms under the guidance of experienced teachers.
The teacher must be able to reflect upon ways to facilitate learning, to improve and modify the environment and to be the decision-maker for change. Calling upon an experiential base that includes a repertoire of processes based upon sound research findings, the teacher must, therefore, become a researcher. To this end, the MAT program is based upon the following beliefs and assumptions.
Teachers must first be well educated themselves. A strong preparation in content is required for teachers to be knowledgeable about the subjects they teach and to develop the critical thinking skills increasingly important for teachers.
Teachers must understand first-hand the relationships among schools, families and the immediate and wider communities within which students live and work. These experiences enable teachers to respond constructively to differences among students and interact with students and their communities in ways that advocate for students’ academic excellence and social justice.
Teachers must show collaborative leadership in working with others to improve schools and the present and future lives of young people. They must integrate theory and practice to nurture human development, to design programs that foster student success and to create classroom and school climates that nurture students as active agents in their own learning.
Teachers must develop curriculum and pedagogical knowledge that will enable them to understand how students learn, to plan for and assess instruction and to manage classrooms effectively.
Teaching ability must be assessed based on professionally established standards of what teachers must know and be able to do. Assessment of teachers is inextricably linked to assessments of learning; they take place in authentic contexts to provide information for candidates’ reflection and for program evaluation. Teacher learning is enhanced by opportunities to reflect, self-assess and gain feedback from others.
As a result, the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Towson University is closely aligned with the day-to-day realities of schooling and the expectations of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). The MAT program focuses on what teachers must know and consciously act upon as successful practitioners, incorporating INTASC standards as the basis for the curriculum. MAT graduates gain these understandings and abilities, in large measure, through working side by side with school and university faculty members in actual school settings through field experiences as well as an extended yearlong internship program.
College of Education
Psychology Building, Room 102