The ideal preparation for the MAT degree in biology is a major in biology or the equivalent. Students who did not major in biology are encouraged to contact us for a transcript review prior to beginning an application.
Sample Biology Courses:
Biology 508: Advanced Conservation Biology
The once entirely scientific field of conservation biology had found itself becoming highly interdisciplinary. Successful conservation ventures still require notable expertise in ecological, evolutionary and behavioral sciences, but need to integrate economic, psychological, sociological and political considerations in order to be successful. This course will focus entirely on case studies in the conversation of plant and animal species, and even entire ecosystems, to explore the interplay and relative importance of these different disciplines in the success or failure of conversation ventures.
Biology 513: Summer School Field Experience
Students spend time tutoring in a local summer school program. This introduction to the public schools provides MAT students with opportunities to work with students one-on-one or in small groups in a tutorial mode. As a first experience with the public schools, graduate students are involved with diagnostic approaches to teaching, focusing on individuals with various kinds of recognized academic needs. These experiences provide real contexts for inquiry and study in the summer teaching strand.
Biology 519: Biotechnology and Infectious Disease
As world populations rise, so do pathogens capable of causing human disease. These infectious diseases can be defined as a type of “wicked problem,” in which no clear solution exists, due to their complexity. To manage this increase in infectious disease cases, current biotechnological advances can be used to design more effective methods for detecting, treating and preventing infectious diseases. These new methods often are possible to deploy in areas at a lower cost, or in locations where resources may be limited.
Biology 532: Academic Research Project
Each student conducts a two-quarter investigation of biological questions generated by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser. For the project, the student is required to:
- become an expert in a particular area of biology, an expertise demonstrated by both a deep understanding of the area and knowledge of the importance of the question in a broader context
- conduct an independent laboratory investigation on the chosen topic
- develop materials that teach the concept using innovative pedagogy
- write a report demonstrating that the above requirements have been met and present it for discussion by biology program students and faculty.
Biology 536: Teaching Practicum I
Students act as full-time apprentices and research partners, assuming increasing responsibility for instruction and collecting and analyzing data with their mentor teachers. In a radical departure from conventional student-teaching models, apprentices work closely with their mentors, moving gradually from participant observer to teaching assistant to co-teacher and, finally, assuming primary responsibility for classroom instruction in all its dimensions. The mentor teacher and the graduate adviser observe regularly and provide ongoing formative evaluations in close collaboration with the student. Students also meet with their MAT peers throughout the student-teaching cycle to support each other through shared writing, reflection, and discussion.
Biology 546: Teaching Practicum II
The MAT student completes the apprenticeship cycle with a second mentor teacher during the spring term. The field experience is structured to provide the MAT student with ongoing guidance and feedback from the graduate adviser and the mentor teacher. An apprenticeship model that emphasizes the guided acquisition of teaching competencies, carefully monitored by mentor and adviser, insures that student learning in the public school classroom is not compromised and that the apprentice is held to standards in teaching that reflect program concerns for authentic learning in the disciplines. MAT students continue to meet weekly as a group to share and reflect upon their experiences.
Biology 558: Case Studies in Medical Biology
To fully understand the major systems of the human body, in the context of both healthy and diseased state, one must examine aspects of the biological, chemical, and physical properties contributing to their function. This course will utilize MCAT style questions and case studies as a platform to learn scientific theories and principles in basic biology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology and other sub disciplines.
ED515: STEM Teaching Lab I
In this four-quarter course, MAT math and science students bring their learning in graduate discipline courses and their educational studies into conversation through a series of investigations that explore teaching and learning from various perspectives. Past personal teaching and learning experiences will be the basis for thinking about
curriculum planning, the math/science classroom, and the sources of learning difficulties some students experience. Current academic conditions may also allow working in local summer school programs as tutors providing further opportunity to engage in practice. Readings, videos, case studies, and classroom observations provide the context for student-focused study of teaching and learning. Explorations in approaches to mathematics and science teaching, including the uses of current available technologies, provide a further basis for thinking about how students in public schools can engage in disciplinary thinking and develop essential skills and knowledge. MAT Students also study standards, curricula, and curriculum materials, paying particular attention to the experiences of underrepresented groups in math/science, and to the sometimes competing demands of state- and national-level tests and established
learning standards. Developing useful perspectives and priorities as teachers that facilitate an instructional focus on authentic forms of learning is a primary goal of these explorations. By the end of this course sequence, students should have a firm grasp of key issues and questions in math/science education, a well-informed perspective, and a
repertoire of practices to apply to the work of teaching that begins full during the field experiences.
STEM Teaching Lab II
This course challenges you to rethink schools and practice through self-reflection and analysis.
1. Through a series of activities and observation protocols, MAT students will explore different elements of their student teaching experience and their school placement, such as the culture of the school; the schedule of the student; the standard state data; IEP/504 plans; classroom management techniques, etc.
2. Through selected readings from the literature, MAT students will explore established ideas on how students think and learn about science and mathematics.
3. MAT students will be given an opportunity to observe and experience lessons and classroom activities that incorporate some best practices on student thinking and learning in mathematics.
4. MAT students will practice writing lesson plans and teaching content.
1. MAT students will develop a practice of written observations into a notebook that will support their completion of the series of in school assignments.
2. MAT students will develop three lesson plans for three demonstrations of instruction in lab.
3. MAT students will give three demonstrations of instruction in lab and video such.
4. MAT students will create a written analysis of their DOI videos
5. MAT students will write two sample edTPA Task 1 documents with two edTPA Task 2 videos/write ups.
6. MAT students will do three video observations provided by ATLAS (details to follow).
Education 502: Issues in Teaching and Learning
This series of workshops introduce students to an alternative pedagogical model in which informal writing practices create a culture of learning that stimulates inquiry, focused reflection, and close collaboration among learners. The workshops acquaint students with the kinds of reflective practice that will characterize and, eventually, shape their own teaching practices.
Education 512: Identity, Culture and the Classroom
In this course, students consider what it means for them to teach-and for adolescents to learn-in the context of contemporary American society. The course focuses on identity development and how it is influenced by cultural power dynamics around such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, ethnicity, and language. Students begin by exploring the concept of identity in broad terms, drawing on Erikson's developmental model as well as numerous contemporary writings. The remainder of the course focuses on the ways in which specific identity-related issues affect adolescents' school experiences. Students investigate research topics including the black/white test score gap and the school-based risks faced by sexual minority students, as well as the work of researcher/theorists Gilligan, Ogbu, Steele, Tatum, and others. 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.
Education 516: Teaching English Language Learners
There are approximately 5 million children (accounting for 21% of all students) in U.S. public schools who are learning English. ELLs are the fastest-growing student population group; by 2025, it is estimated that 1 in 4 public school students will be ELLs. An estimated 300 languages are spoken in schools across the country. In this three-part course, students will explore what it means to be an English Language Learner in school today, the social-emotional and academic challenges that ELLs face, and how to provide both rigorous academic instruction and a welcoming, inclusive classroom to one or our most at-risk populations.
Education 522: Curriculum and Assessment
This course emphasizes curriculum design and implementation by looking at how assessment protocols contribute to learning and focuses on 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 a variety of contexts.
Learning to teach is more than learning how to teach. At the center of teaching is a relationship between teacher and learner. To teach means to work from that center where action is borne out of the principles one holds about how and why people learn. To teach means to hold beliefs and understandings that are often evolving rather than static in response to such questions as:
- What are the conditions that support learning?
- Why are some teachers more effective than others?
- What does effective mean?
- How do I and my students come to see learning that has happened?
- How do I create a curriculum that serves students’ learning needs?
- How do my, the school’s, and society’s educational values come into play?
Teaching is a complex activity. It requires that we work with the seemingly infinite details of school life while holding firmly to our core knowledge about students, learning and curriculum. It requires that we have a passion about our students and what they learn, and that we do not lose that passion under the pressures for performance on tests or the demands of keeping up with the pace of the public school curriculum.
Education 524: Language, Literacy and the Adolescent Learner
This course is an introduction to the social, cultural, cognitive, and disciplinary aspects of literacy development, emphasizing the literacies of late childhood and adolescence. The course includes foundational readings in sociological theories of literacy and language rights, as well as cognitive research in language acquisition and reading comprehension. But as a course for classroom teachers, it will be most concerned with the kinds of activities and assessments that, taking these theories into account, best support adolescent students as they read, write, listen, and speak about content in the major subject areas of schooling—history, languages, literature, mathematics, and the sciences. Special emphasis will be given to the needs of students for whom literacy in English is difficult or unfamiliar.
Students will know and understand how
- Current research defines “literacy,” including the social, cultural, cognitive, and discipline-specific aspects of becoming “literate”
- Language affects learning within and across the disciplines, with particular emphasis on vocabulary acquisition for academic purposes
- People learn to read and read to learn—the stages of reading development, models of comprehension, specific demands of reading in the disciplines, and problems in reading
- Writing supports learning within and across the disciplines—the stages of written language development and the principles of writing-to-learn
- Technology has shaped and extending reading, writing, and other literacy practices
- Plan literacy-rich lessons in their disciplines, with goals, activities, and assessments that advance students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking
- Differentiate for students who need additional support with reading, vocabulary, and writing in English
- Address issues of interest and motivation in the literacy-rich environment
Education 535: Teaching Lab Strand III
This lab will serve as a forum for troubleshooting issues of planning, instruction, assessment, and classroom management. We will conduct the class using the workshop model. The class will provide students with an opportunity for sharing and receiving feedback from their peers as they work toward completing the spring student teaching placements. In addition, the class will include modules on special education, poverty, charter schools, self-care and classroom discipline.
The primary purpose of lab is to support (and encourage) students’ emerging classroom practice. Support will evolve from the presentations and workshops in class each week as well as individual conversations with the instructor.