Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Elementary, Middle, or High School Level Licensure Program

Teacher training through classroom experience

Photo by Rowdy Webb

Photo by Rowdy Webb

The Arbor Center for Teaching, in collaboration with Marylhurst University, offers a full-time, two-year apprenticeship guided by experienced teachers to complement formal study of educational ideas and practice.

Apprentice teachers spend forty-hour weeks learning the art of teaching. For two years, they remain with the same master teachers and their mixed-age classes, deepening their ties to students, parents, and colleagues and thereby understanding that quintessential element of good teaching: relationship. They are considered members of the faculty at Arbor School (their practicum site) and participate fully in all aspects of school life. In turn, they bring ideas and fresh energy to their classrooms and to the community at large.

During their first year, Apprentices take increasing responsibility for planning, instructing, and assessing children's progress in their classrooms. In the spring of this first year, Apprentices develop and implement their first work sample in either mathematics or literacy.

Apprentices’ second year takes a somewhat different shape. During the fall and winter terms, Apprentices write a thesis that analyzes a teaching process or project that they have conducted at Arbor School. They also leave Arbor one day each week to teach in public school settings, then complete a month-long public school practicum over the winter. This opportunity to teach in another school context broadens Apprentices' teaching practices and encourages collaboration among teachers across school settings. Apprentices return to Arbor for the spring term, "solo" teaching within their original classroom placements.

Throughout each school year and during summer term, Apprentices attend Marylhurst courses delivered at Arbor School and at nearby Marylhurst University. This coursework spans requirements established by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and Marylhurst, focusing on such areas as child development, assessment, social justice, methodology (including ESOL and Reading Endorsement prerequisites), and educational philosophy. Strong emphasis on literacy and reading underpins their preparation for work with young children from many backgrounds and cultures.

This combination of extensive classroom experience and coursework anticipating the growing multilingual and multicultural demands of school settings throughout Oregon mirrors current thinking about the best practices for teacher education. Graduates of the ACT/Marylhurst program leave their training well prepared to consider the needs of individual children within a variety of school contexts. After completing the MAT and finding a teaching position, graduates continue to receive ACT mentorship and coaching throughout their first year of teaching.