while also stretching well beyond the limits—
both in terms of subject matter and theoretical frameworks—found in the high school curricula.
The ideal preparation for the MAT in history is a B.A. in history or the equivalent, or a BA in another area of Social Science with a historical emphasis (coursework in U.S. and global history; or world history components, with at least some of these courses at the 300 or 400 level, requiring research papers or other writing-intensive projects). Since the history curriculum provides preparation for the teaching of social studies, course work in the social sciences—in such fields as government, sociology, economics, political science, and area studies (for example, Africana studies, Asian studies, women’s studies) are also acceptable preparation for the program. Prospective students who are unsure if they meet the qualifications for the MAT in history are encouraged to email the MAT program for a transcript review.
Sample History Courses
History 501: African Crisis
Moving beyond the one-dimensional view of a “war-torn continent”, this course digs into the notion of crisis and conflict in African states. We will explore why wars occur and how these conflicts take shape. The discussions and writings will weave through theories of political violence, and will find grounding in three case studies of war: Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Sudan. The analysis includes an examination of the histories of the states as well as specific narratives framing the causes of these conflicts. By examining society through extreme political events, we will hopefully reach a point of more profound confusion about why people war.
History 513: Field Experience in Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices
Students engage in six workshops and observational learning sessions at Ramapo for Children in Rhinebeck, New York. Sessions focus on fostering meaningful relationships with and encouraging social and emotional skills in youth with a wide range of social, emotional and learning challenges. The sessions will also focus on utilizing restorative practices to de-escalate youth and support them in repairing harm.
History 512: Mystic Chords of Memory
This course tackles two key matters for historians --the “noble dream” of objectivity in historical scholarship and the many “houses of history.” Yet the major focus in this course will be to bring these issues into an investigation of the relationship among historical scholarship, historical memory, and the popular consumption of history through films, museums and historic sites, historical novels, and even textbooks. The politics of history will be explored by addressing the following questions about public history: Who writes history, and for what purpose(s)? How are collective memories constructed and effectively disseminated? Can civic, commercial, and intellectual approaches to history comfortably coexist? Can historical scholarship exist outside of its usefulness? Who uses history? Must a utilitarian approach to history compromise historical truth? How have the answers to these questions changed over time, and why? Ultimately, the course explores the a) relationship(s) between/among public history, popular history, collective memory, history as national narrative, and academic history, and b) how these have changed over time.
History 520: The Great War in World History
This course is a graduate level survey of changes and trends in the research and writing of history as practiced by professional historians. After brief consideration of the origins of history as a formal academic discipline (separate from literature) in the 19th Century, and of the transition from political to social history in the mid-twentieth century, we also consider the shift from social history to the multiplicity of approaches that came out of the “theory explosion” between the 1960s and 1990s. This course draws from the fields of modern European, African and World History. The larger questions to keep in mind throughout the course are: What are the interpretive strategies used and debated by historians? What type of evidence does the author use? How does a historian work with both evidence and interpretive frameworks to produce historical writing?
History 524: Revolutions
As a course in World History students will be comparing four revolutionary case studies from South Africa, France, Russia, and China. The question of violence - the violence of repressive governments, revolutionary violence, and counter-revolutionary violence– is a theme that we shall trace across all the case studies. We shall seek to understand each revolution in terms of both indigenously generated dynamics as well as world-historical factors. Engaging with each case separately and then in comparison with the others opens up consideration of the potential problems and benefits involved in applying world-historical concepts of change to individual cases. Theoretical readings include Skocpol, Goldstone, and Fanon.
History 537: The Long Civil War and Reconstruction
This course explores the American Civil War, its connections to the wartime Reconstruction project in the former Confederate states, the postwar Reconstruction project, and its enduring consequences. It will examine competing understandings of the war’s causes and goals by contemporaries; global capitalism and the war; the beginnings of Reconstruction during the war itself; Lincoln’s, Johnson’s and Congress’s differing approaches to Reconstruction; the experiences of various participants in the war and Reconstruction (northerners--black and white, slaves, emancipated slaves, southern whites; women, men); political and extra-political opposition to Reconstruction; the institutional and constitutional legacy of the project; and the memory of the Civil War and Reconstruction among various American publics.
History 532: Academic Research Project
The history Academic Research Project (ARP) is intended to give history students experience in the kind of discipline-based thinking about their subject matter that will find practical application in secondary school teaching. It consists of three parts: the historiographical synthesis, the textbook critique, and annotated documents. The first section, the historiographical synthesis, requires students to combine critical reading and writing about historical topics, historiographical commentary on secondary sources, and formal historical writing techniques. Each year there is a specific theme around which the ARP topics are chosen. Students select a topic (within that year's theme) that will allow them to analyze the secondary historical literature on their topic, and then place each of their sources within its historiographical context. In the second section of the project the student writes a sophisticated historiographical critique and analysis of a secondary school textbook account of the chosen topic. In the third section of the ARP, students provide a carefully selected and annotated collection of primary source documents; these documents speak to the historical topic under investigation. Students may conclude their papers by suggesting avenues for future historical research and/or questions raised or remaining in their minds by their analytical reviews of sources. The history research project is completed over the course of the summer, fall, and winter quarters.
History 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.
History 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.
Education 515: History Teaching Lab I
The primary purpose of this lab is to consider how the thinking and learning from your education and history courses translate into the practice of teaching in the secondary Social Studies classroom. In the final analysis, our goal is practical—to begin developing a repertoire of approaches to teaching history that are appropriate to high school and middle school classrooms. This quarter of “History Teaching as Reflective Practice” will focus on developing the following skills:
- Establishing historically rooted, standards-based instructional goals and driving questions
- The thoughtful use of graphic organizers that scaffold learning and help students track and reflect on their emerging understanding of content
- Reading, writing, and literacy in the history classroom, with an eye to curating documents for student use
- The role of group work and direction instruction in the history classroom
- The use of various technology tools for online teaching
Education 525: History Teaching Lab II
The fall segment of history lab builds on the summer lab. Both labs are intended to act as a bridge between the work in your history and education courses and the teaching of Social Studies in middle and high schools. Here, you will continue to develop practical strategies for the teaching of Social Studies that draw on the discipline of history as well as lesson planning and curriculum development skills that will mirror and complement your work in ED522 (Curriculum and Planning). This fall we will develop a set of best practices for using the following history-instruction teaching strategies:
* direct instruction (“lecture”/PPT/other)
* teaching reading and writing to social studies learners
* historical imagination exercises
* differentiated instruction
* review and revisit from summer:
Developing driving (or: essential) question, selecting & teaching with graphic organizers, using group work, images, curating primary sources
As you did in the summer lab, you will have an opportunity to plan, execute, and reflect on one 30-minute lesson at the end of the fall semester. You will also develop one or two other mini lessons earlier in the term. The material underpinning your planning work for lab will draw from the Revolutions course (if applicable) and from the NYS Global History Curriculum guidelines.
Education 502: Issues in Teaching and Learning
These 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. 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
Students will be able to
- 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: Problems of Practice
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.