MAT Science Areas of Study
The WGU Master of Arts in Teaching, Science program content is based on research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable teachers to teach effectively in diverse classrooms. The Master of Arts in Teaching, Science program content and training processes are consistent with the accountability intent of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified teachers. As described in the federal legislation, a highly qualified teacher is one who not only possesses full state certification, but also has solid content knowledge of the subject(s) he or she teaches. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) appropriate and rigorous subject-matter preparation, (b) research-based pedagogical course preparation, and (c) clinical field experiences in which teacher candidates are supervised by trained coaches.
Foundations of Teaching Domain
The Foundations of Teaching area of study contains competencies underlying our knowledge about children, learning, and teaching. As you begin to work in the Foundations of Teaching area of study, your mentor will assess your readiness to begin state-required content knowledge testing needed for certification. Your mentor will also assist you in beginning the process of application and acceptance into the two different components of WGU field experiences: the preclinical experiences (PCE) and demonstration teaching (DT). Video-based preclinical field experiences are embedded in the performance assessments of the Foundations of Teaching domain and require observation, analysis, and reflection based on real classroom situations (in-class PCE will take place in a school near you when you start work on the Effective Teaching Practices domain).
You may not transfer credits or prior years of teaching experience from other institutions to meet requirements of the Foundations of Teaching domain. In the first six months of working in the Foundation of Teaching domain, you must also register for and pass a Basic Skills Test. Many states require such a test for licensure, and you will need to take the one applicable to your state. For states with no specific Basic Skills Test, you will sign up for and take the Praxis 1 exam.
Foundations of Teaching Practice Integration
This is a comprehensive exam assessing the student’s knowledge of the competencies listed below. The student may participate in a comprehensive review session with a mentor and peers to prepare for the assessment.
Instructional Planning and Presentation
Courses focused on instructional planning and presentation assist students into developing the instructional strategies that lead to effective instruction. A major focus is turning the written lesson plan into effective classroom instruction.
Instructional Planning and Presentation for Science
Students will continue to build instructional planning skills with a focus on selecting appropriate materials for diverse learners, selecting age- and ability-appropriate strategies for the content areas, promoting critical thinking, and establishing both short- and long-term goals.
Science, Technology, and Society
This course will help candidates develop an increased understanding and appreciation for the nature and process of science. Candidates will develop a high-level view of core themes in science and the importance of science and technology to their personal lives. Candidates will analyze the historical development of scientific theories and engage in science by using inquiry to solve open-ended problems and through the analysis of socio-scientific issues.
Science Teaching and Learning
In this course candidates will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective practicing science educator. Candidates will learn principles and model of teaching for understanding, and gain familiarity with the standards and best practices of science education. Candidates will learn how to select appropriate resources, use multiple teaching strategies, use assessment to guide instruction, and plan for all students. Emphasis will be on strategies used for creating a safe and active community of learners that uses inquiry as the central teaching strategy to confront student misconceptions.
Courses focused on preclinical experiences help students engage in early field experiences with a focus on connecting theory to practice, understanding the professional responsibilities of teachers, and developing strategies that positively impact the learning of a diverse population of students. Students will complete both video-based observations and in-classroom observations.
Preclinical Experiences in Science
Students will observe and participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences in order to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be an effective teacher. Students will reflect on and document at least 60 hours of in-classroom observations. Prior to entering the classroom for the observations, students will be required to meet several requirements including a cleared background check, passing scores on the state or WGU required basic skills exam, a completed resume, philosophy of teaching, and professional photo.
Demonstration Teaching is a full-time, in-classroom supervised experience required of all teacher candidates. It is the culminating experience of the program and all academic requirements must be complete before beginning. Additional requirements include a cleared background check, passing scores on state and WGU required content exams, and demonstration of satisfactory teacher dispositions.
Supervised Demonstration Teaching in Science
A WGU clinical supervisor (an experienced educator who lives and works near your teaching location) will observe your teaching on multiple occasions – at least six observations are required – and evaluation will be completed according to a published checklist and rubric. The clinical supervisors submit the results to WGU for review and recording.
Teacher Work Sample
The WGU Teacher Works Sample requires teacher candidate to plan and teach a multi-week, standards-based instructional unit that showcases a collection of content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills.
Professional Portfolio in Science
Students will create and online teaching portfolio to demonstrate competency of the Demonstration Teaching experience. The portfolio is a way to show colleagues and potential employers the skills that have been developed throughout your Demonstration Teaching experience.
Cohort Seminar in Science
Students will participate in a weekly cohort call to collaborate with a cohort facilitator and fellow students to discuss progress and best practices for completing the Teacher Work Sample, Observations, and Portfolio.
The research fundamentals domain prepares students to conduct research and also to become informed consumers of research.
Foundations of Research
This course focuses on differentiating between different research paradigms, including qualitative, quantitative, and action research.
Literature Reviews for Educational Research
This course focuses on selecting an appropriate research topic, evaluating the reliability of primary and secondary source information, and conducting a literature review.
This course focuses on developing a research proposal that includes the literature review, research questions, methodology, and data analysis.
Issues in Research Fundamentals
This course focuses on developing a research strategy that clarifies what data to collect and how to analyze it using descriptive and inferential statistics.