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Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) Course Descriptions

EDUC 500 Introduction to Urban Teaching
(Fall)

This highly interactive introductory experience for incoming Urban Teacher Academy participants orients aspiring teachers to basic premises, recent controversies, and unspoken assumptions in the local, national, and global discourses on urban education, and provides the opportunity for participants to articulate their personal stance toward teaching and learning in high-needs schools.

EDUC 501 Human Development, Learning & Motivation in Classroom Context (Fall)

This course is a study of the principles of development, learning, and motivation during the school-age years, with a particular emphasis on application of developmental research to classroom contexts. Physical, cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional domains of development are explored, as are theories of human behavior and motivation. Practical implications for the design of curriculum, instruction, and classroom management are explicitly drawn.

EDUC 502 Case Studies in Effective Urban Teaching & Learning Classroom Management (Fall)

Part methods course, part critical seminar, this course explores and analyzes prevalent instructional methods in urban teaching using the case study method.  Participants will examine, deconstruct, practice, and critique various approaches to urban teaching and learning, developing a nuanced understanding of the term ‘effective’ and a personal repertoire of teaching techniques that deserve that label.

EDUC 503 Culture, Context & Critical Pedagogy in Urban Classrooms (Fall)

This course explores the historical, philosophical, racial, and socioeconomic factors that often impede effective teaching and learning in urban school contexts, using a systems thinking approach in order to contextualize urban education, provide aspiring teachers with the skills necessary to serve as agents of positive change in the face of institutional challenges, and advance the learning of all students. 

Field Experiences Strand

Courses that build the skills of effective teaching through first-hand observations and actual teaching in P-12 settings.

EDTE 501 Practicum I: Observation in Diverse Urban Classrooms (Fall)

The first in a series of intensive field experiences, this practicum offers MAT teacher candidates the opportunity to gain a broad, firsthand introduction to the diverse public schools of Washington, DC. Candidates are placed in where they serve as participant observers in the classrooms of outstanding teachers practicing in their intended grade level or subject area. The practicum also provide candidates with the opportunity to visit a wide array of learning contexts observe a range of effective and engaging teaching practices, and meet some of the city’s best educators. Daytime availability is required, in addition to attendance at class meetings on campus. Prerequisite:

EDTE 502 Practicum II: Student Teaching (Spring)

The second in a series of intensive field experiences, this practicum is an abbreviated student teaching experience for Urban Teacher Academy MAT candidates. From approximately May 1 to June 15, teacher candidates lead classroom instruction under the supervision of an outstanding cooperating teacher. Full-time availability (M-F, approximately 8am-4pm) is required, in addition to weekly class meetings on campus. Start dates, end dates, and daily hours may vary according to school needs.  The Teacher Performance Assessment is the culminating activity for this course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all pre-service coursework requirements, including methods coursework and Practicum I, or by permission of program director.

EDRD 501 Teaching Elementary Reading & Language Arts (Fall)

Through readings, discussions, and sample teaching activities, this course gives candidates a thorough understanding of the principles of effective pedagogy for language arts instruction in the elementary grades, with a particular focus on reading. After providing a firm theoretical foundation in the process of reading and the principles of effective reading instruction, this course then explores how to apply those principles to classroom instruction through practical, proven methods of planning, instruction, and assessment. Teacher candidates examine key questions in the urban elementary language arts classroom. How do I create a literacy-rich classroom environment where urban students learn to read and learn to love reading? What role might writing instruction play in creating powerful literacy experiences? What instructional strategies do I use when students are ‘learning to read,’ and how do I adjust my approach once students start ‘reading to learn? How do I choose texts for instruction, and what are the social justice implications of my choices? Taking these issues into account, candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet Common Core and NCTE/IRA standards for elementary literacy.

EDRD 505 Teaching Adolescent Readers (Spring/Summer I)

Although many secondary teachers are drawn to the profession by a passion for content, it’s essential for every middle and high school teacher to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate reading comprehension. After providing a firm theoretical foundation in the process of reading and the principles of effective reading instruction, this course then focuses on how to apply those principles to classroom instruction through practical, proven methods of planning, instruction, and assessment. Teacher candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that address Common Core literacy standards through instruction in the candidate’s area of content specialization. Special emphasis will be placed on the facilitation of literacy among struggling readers, English language learners, and students who require accommodations.

EDCI 521 Teaching Elementary Mathematics (Spring)

If urban learners are to become powerful citizens with full control over their lives, then they need to be able to reason mathematically – to think logically, analyze evidence, and reason with numbers. Yet nationwide data show that too few students are getting access to these essential math skills. This course prepares elementary teacher candidates to provide instruction that puts students on the path to deep, meaningful numeracy. Candidates experience and practice different approaches to math instruction and assessment as they wrestle with several key questions. What do elementary students need to learn, and what are the most effective ways of teaching it? How can I demystify math for young learners and prevent math phobia? How can I teach math so students really understand what they’re doing? How can I, as a teacher, tell when students are truly mastering concepts? Taking these issues into account, candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet Common Core and NCTM standards for elementary mathematics. Methods of checking for understanding throughout instruction receive special emphasis.

EDCI 522 Teaching Science & Social Studies through Inquiry (Spring)

A powerful and rigorous content-area curriculum engages students with significant ideas, encourages them to connect what they are learning to their prior knowledge and to current issues, to think critically and creatively about what they are learning, and to apply that learning to authentic situations. This course explores methods of inquiry-based teaching and assessment in elementary science and social studies, with a special emphasis on project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and authentic assessment. Teacher candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet local and national standards for science education and social studies education.

EDCI 523 Teaching the Integrated, Collaborative Curriculum (Summer I)

The most effective teachers understand that they teach children, not subjects. This course prepares teacher candidates to expand the elementary curriculum beyond the ‘3 Rs.’ It provides creative methods, techniques, and materials for teaching the visual arts, movement, music, and health/nutrition, as well as ways to involve students’ families and other education professionals in the learning process. Approaches to integrating these elements into other subject area instruction are also explored. Teacher candidates conceptualize and plan lessons that teach to the ‘whole child’ in the classroom.

EDCI 525 Teaching through Play (Spring)

This course explores the pedagogy of art and music education in order for teacher candidates to develop the knowledge and skills to plan, organize, and facilitate meaningful art curricula for students encompassing a range of needs and abilities. Teacher candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet local and national standards for arts education in the candidate’s focus area (visual arts education or music education).

EDCI 551 Teaching Adolescent Writers (Fall)

Through readings, discussions, and sample teaching activities, this course gives candidates a thorough understanding of the principles of effective pedagogy for writing instruction at the middle and secondary levels. Candidates closely examine several critical questions: What is the purpose of teaching writing, and how do goals for composition connect to other aspects of the language arts curriculum? What instructional approaches and strategies can engage reluctant writers in finding their voice, even when their reading and composition skills are below grade level? How do I balance the ideal of a writer’s workshop approach with the reality of short class periods and competing demands for instructional time? How do I translate my personal love of literature into positive outcomes for urban students? What are the most effective ways to take advantage of an urban writing classroom to promote greater social justice? Taking these issues into account, and candidates build on exemplars of effective practice to create a personal, practical approach to writing instruction. Special emphasis is given to the nuts and bolts of managing the mammoth task of writing assessment in secondary schools – with techniques for offering effective written feedback, fostering self-assessment and peer assessment that really works, using individual conferencing, and using multiple-traits rubrics.

EDCI 552 Teaching through Literature (Spring)

Through readings, discussions, and sample teaching activities, this course gives candidates a thorough understanding of the principles of effective pedagogy for teaching literature and literary criticism at the middle and secondary levels. Candidates closely examine several critical questions: What is the purpose of teaching literature, and how do goals for literature connect to other aspects of the language arts curriculum? What texts might I be expected to teach, and how do I decide what additional texts to use? How do I translate my personal love of literature into positive outcomes for urban students? What instructional approaches and strategies can engage students in critical textual analysis, even when their reading comprehension skills are below grade level? What are the secrets of leading a great discussion? Taking these issues into account, candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet Common Core and NCTE standards for literature and literary analysis. Special emphasis is given to techniques for scaffolding student understanding  - without lowering expectations.

EDCI 561 Scope & Methods of Teaching History (Fall)

Through readings, discussions, and observations in local schools, this course provides teacher candidates with opportunities to become familiar with the wide-ranging opportunities and demands of middle and high school history classrooms. Candidates closely examine several questions: How does a teacher who loves history translate that passion into student outcomes?  What instructional approaches and strategies can engage students’ natural curiosity, even on topics that seem distant from their daily lives? How does a teacher successfully cover ‘history’ in 36 weeks using a standards based approach?  What are the most effective ways to take advantage of an urban history classroom to promote greater social justice? And how, given the narrowing of the curriculum to focus primarily on reading and math, can a history teacher support school-wide initiatives yet ensure that students develop an informed perspective on the past? Taking these issues into account, candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet local and national standards for American history and world history.

EDCI 562 Scope & Methods of Teaching Social Studies (Spring)

The purpose of the secondary social studies curriculum is to prepare middle and high school students to become informed, engaged participants in civic life.  Through readings, discussions, curriculum development, and engagement with the unique resources of Washington, DC, this course prepares teacher candidates to advance this purpose in middle and high school urban classrooms. Candidates closely examine several questions: What are the differences and similarities between history instruction and social studies instruction? How can a passionate DC teacher effectively integrate museums, government agencies, and other local resources into a standards-based curriculum? What instructional approaches and strategies can engage students’ natural curiosity, even on topics that seem distant from their daily lives? And how can a social studies teacher support initiatives to improve student outcomes in literacy and math without sacrificing their own content? Taking these issues into account, candidates explore and develop model curriculum maps, unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments that meet local and national standards for geography, civics, economics, and local history.

EDCI 571 Scope & Methods of Teaching Math
(Fall)

What does a teacher need to know and be able to do to ensure that secondary not only learn math, but learn to love it? How do effective math teachers take into account the unique developmental cognitive and social-emotional needs of adolescents? What, exactly, are teachers expected to teach, and what are some tried-and-true ways of teaching it? This introductory content-pedagogy course helps aspiring secondary math teachers explore the big ideas of their teaching field, develop an effective professional stance toward mathematics instruction, and begin to be able to use major methods of mathematics instruction. Unpacking the Common Core standards for sedondary math receives special emphasis.

EDCI 572  Curriculum & Instruction I: Number System; Ratios & Proportions; and Statistics & Probability
(Spring)

Proportionality is perhaps the most important connecting ideas in middle school math: The ability to think deeply about ratios and proportions is needed to make sense of linear relationships, which opens the door to algebra and other advanced mathematical topics. What does a teacher need to know and be able to do to ensure that middle graders develop skills of proportional reasoning? How can teachers use proportionality as the ‘big idea’ that unifies math instruction across the all strands of math? This course is focused on practical, proven methods of planning, instruction, and assessment for middle grades instruction on these critical, powerful topics. Methods of checking for understanding throughout instruction receive special emphasis.

EDCI 573 Curriculum & Instruction II: Geometry & Algebra (Spring)

Research shows that a key predictor of high school completion and college readiness is student achievement in algebra in the middle grades. What does a teacher need to know and be able to do to ensure that middle graders in high-needs urban schools are ready for high school math? How can students be successful in more advanced math topics even if their foundational math skills are below grade-level? This course is focused on practical, proven methods of planning, instruction, and assessment for middle school geometry and algebra. Alignment with Common Core standards and techniques for differentiation according to student needs receive special emphasis.


MA in Early Childhood

Course Descriptions

EDUC 500 Introduction to Urban Teaching (Fall)

This highly interactive introductory experience for incoming Urban Teacher Academy participants orients aspiring teachers to basic premises, recent controversies, and unspoken assumptions in the local, national, and global discourses on urban education, and provides the opportunity for participants to articulate their personal stance toward teaching and learning in high-needs schools.

ECED 505 Applying Theories of Child Development in Early Education Environments (Fall)

The most effective teachers of young children possess a deep, research-based understanding of how children learn, grow, and thrive, and draw on that knowledge to select developmentally appropriate teaching practices. Through a careful examination of past and current theory and practice in human development, learning and motivation, this course grounds teacher candidates in research and builds their skills in understanding and interpreting young children’s child behaviors through a developmental lens. Drawing specific, actionable connections to effective teaching and management strategies receives special emphasis. 

EDUC 503 Impact of Home, Community, Culture in Urban Early Childhood Education (Fall)

The most dynamic, effective early childhood classrooms reflect a thorough understanding of the family, community, and cultural contexts of young students. Through readings, discussions, presentations from guest speakers, and examinations of exciting and inspiring approaches to teaching in urban schools, teachers examine the impact of diversity in early childhood classrooms. An emphasis on treating diversity as an opportunity is woven throughout, and teachers develop the ability to acknowledge the challenges that some urban learners face while maintaining a deeply respectful, asset-based stance toward children and families.

SPED 504 (Fall)

What are the rights and needs of children who qualify for special education services or who have other exceptional learning needs? What does a teacher need to know about special education law and special education categories? What is the role of the general education teacher in ensuring that exceptional learners receive a high-quality classroom experience that meets their needs? Why are African American children and non-native speakers of English overrepresented in special education programs? This course surveys the legal and instructional implications of exceptional learners in the general education early childhood classroom. Contemporary best practices, such as inclusion, differentiation, and ‘Response to Intervention’ receive special emphasis. A field component is an integral part of this course.

ECED 517 Assessing Learning in Urban Early Childhood Classrooms (Fall)

What constitutes developmentally appropriate assessment in early childhood?  What assessments are early childhood teachers expected to use in local schools, and how can the data from those assessments inform a rich, responsive, rigorous curriculum for young learners? What are the secrets of truly effective ‘observation’ of learning in early childhood settings? What sorts of assessment are appropriate for play-based teaching techniques? Teachers examine these and other critical issues in early childhood assessment to develop a wide repertoire of techniques for assessment and interpretation.

ECED 580 Managing the Early Childhood Environment (Spring)

What makes an early childhood classroom ‘work’? What do highly effective teachers do to prevent and resolve conflicts in early childhood classrooms? How can classroom management build the essential social-emotional skills of self-regulation and cooperation in young children? By exploring the major theoretical and practical approaches to the ecology of the learning environment, teacher candidates develop skills to build and maintain developmentally and culturally responsive learning environments that facilitate child-centered, play-based learning for young children. Strategies for involving students’ families in classroom management are included. A field component is an integral part of this course.

ECED 504 Developing Language and Literacy in Urban Early Childhood Education (Spring)

Early childhood is a critical time for the development of language and literacy skills. In this course, culturally focused research on initial language acquisition and second language acquisition among African American and Hispanic children from birth to 8 will be emphasized using a review of books, articles, websites and other instructional resources. The course will review the foundations of emergent literacy and explore methods of teaching early reading, with a focus on the use of children’s literature. Teachers explore and develop model curricula, instructional materials, and assessments designed to foster language and literacy development across early childhood, with a special emphasis on preschool through third grade.

ECED 506 Teaching Math, Science, & Technology to Young Urban Learners (Summer I)

Hands-on, cognitively challenging, conceptually sound instruction in math, science, and technology is essential for supporting the children’s development as critical and reflective thinkers. This course emphasizes the application of developmental principles to investigate and devise experiences that employ mathematical reasoning and scientific processes. Using a hands-on approach, learners explore the various materials used in learning centers to stimulate and develop children’s logical-mathematical thinking. Teacher candidates examine student work to identify the developmental levels of children’s thinking and create lessons and learning experiences that are ‘just right’. A field component is an integral part of this course.

ECED 525 Teaching through Play (Spring)

If ‘play is children’s work,’ what do highly effective teachers of young children do to make sure they ‘work smarter?’ What specific cognitive and social emotional skills are developed through play, and how can a teacher identify, assess, and foster these skills? How must a classroom and a curriculum be designed for optimal play-based learning? What’s the evidence that play-based learning leads to stronger outcomes for urban learners and exceptional learners? This course grounds teacher candidates in the theories and methods of play and creative arts as central approaches to teaching and learning, focusing on integrated approaches to what curriculum looks like and how it functions. A field component is an integral part of this course.

ECED 510 Teaching Social Studies, Health, and PE (Summer I)

What do young learners need to know about themselves, their bodies, their communities, and their worlds in order to foster cognitive development? How can teaching these topics advance educational equity and social justice?  How do effective teachers help children make connections across the curriculum, and how do they integrate essential literacy skills into these subjects? This course grounds teacher candidates in the social science concepts that are taught in early childhood classroom as well as related, developmentally appropriate methods of instruction. Using a hands-on approach, students will explore methods and materials used in social studies, health and safety, and physical education curricula. Strategies for engaging and empowering young learners to become active, democratic citizens and critical, reflective thinkers will also be explored. Connecting all elements of a rich, responsive curriculum to the essential skills represented in the Common Core State Standards receives special emphasis. A field component is an integral part of this course.

EDTE 501 Observations in Diverse Urban Settings

The first in a series of intensive field experiences, this practicum offers teacher candidates the opportunity to gain a broad, firsthand introduction to the diverse public schools of Washington, DC. Candidates are placed where they serve as participant observers in the classrooms of outstanding teachers practicing in their intended grade level or subject area. The practicum also makes strategic use of ‘mini-clinics’ that provide candidates with the opportunity to visit a wide array of learning contexts. Daytime availability is required, in addition to attendance at biweekly class meetings on campus.  

EDTE 502 Practicum II: Student Teaching (Spring)

The program’s culminating field experience enables students to participate full time in an internship in early childhood education, linking university course work to real world of working with diverse young learners and their families. Teacher candidates serve as apprentice teachers under the supervision of effective early childhood teachers and university-based clinical faculty. Through a gradual release of responsibility model, teacher candidates take on increasing responsibility for planning, instruction, assessment and classroom management. The Teacher Performance Assessment is the culminating assessment for this course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of coursework sequences; successful completion of relevant licensing exams; and permission of program director.