For the Master of Arts in Teaching, we seek highly motivated and dedicated students with a strong academic background, a commitment to teaching diverse students in an urban setting and a demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively and reflectively with others.
Students enter the MAT program having completed a liberal arts degree. Students interested in teaching at the secondary level normally have fulfilled a major in their planned teaching field, such as English, history, mathematics or biology. In addition to a successful faculty interview, students must pass the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure before the beginning of the program, in May, in order to retain eligibility.
Clark undergraduates may qualify for the MAT as one of the University’s accelerated degree programs (email Andrea Allen for information). All other applicants must submit a completed application by Jan. 15. Please note that the admissions process is competitive and that final admission decisions are made by education faculty.
Members of communities underrepresented in teaching are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more about our Teacher Diversity Initiative.
Program Values and Admissions Criteria
At the Adam Institute we are dedicated to preparing outstanding beginning teachers that are highly qualified to serve students in urban schools. We have constructed our Master of Arts in Teaching program carefully in order to meet this goal. We also have established a core set of attributes that we believe students need in order to prepare for and be successful in the program, and to teach urban students from low-income neighborhoods and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. These attributes will guide our admissions process and assessment of students’ progress in the program.
We ask all applicants to reflect on and demonstrate their readiness for the program in terms of the first six of the seven areas below (see guidelines for the essay required as part of the application process). We will focus on the seventh area, “performance as a best practice teacher,” once you are in the program.
- Vocational commitment: Great teachers approach teaching as a vocation, as a calling to serve young people in their formation as whole persons, with a focus on their intellectual, academic, and social development. Strong applicants will reflect deeply on their reasons for entering teaching, and test and demonstrate their commitment by working in a youth program, preferably one serving urban youth.
- Ability to relate to youth: Great teachers are empathetic toward and enthusiastic about working with young people. They respect, trust, and believe in their students. They understand their students’ developmental concerns, their hopes, and their yearnings. They communicate with and engage young people well. They bring their hearts as well as minds to their work. Strong applicants will demonstrate their commitment to teaching young people by working in some interactive role in a youth program, preferably in a setting with diverse children (for example, in a mentor or tutor program, big brother/big sister program, summer camp, or youth recreation program).
- Subject matter understanding: Great teachers believe in the subject matter they are teaching. They are great learners themselves, and show enthusiasm for and deep understanding of the subject matter. At the same time, they recognize that their subject matter knowledge is not something simply to give to students, but must be integrated with a pedagogy that makes learning meaningful and accessible to all. Successful applicants will have excellent academic records, and demonstrate a commitment to the subject matter of their teaching.
- Cultural awareness: Great teachers value the different cultural backgrounds of their students and use their cultural awareness in an effort to relate to and support the students in learning. Successful applicants will be able to illustrate their commitment to cultural understanding, with reference to specific coursework and other experiences.
- Capacity for critical reflection: Great teachers think critically about the beliefs and assumptions they make about their students, and that inform their decision-making about what and how to teach. Urban teachers, especially, must be able to take a critical stance on their work and the institution of schooling, with a commitment to education as a fundamentally moral and democratic activity, grounded in values of equity, equality, freedom, and responsible participation in civic life. Strong applicants will address how they have developed this capacity.
- Ability to collaborate: Great teachers must be able to work openly and collaboratively to create a strong culture of learning and mutual support for themselves as well as their students. Strong applicants will address their commitment to a program in which planning and the examination of teaching practice occur frequently in a collaborative process.
- Performance as a best-practice teacher (by the end of the MAT program): Great teachers know their students as well as they know their subject matter. They combine their subject matter knowledge and understanding of their students to engage, support, and challenge all students in meaningful learning. They facilitate their students’ development as thinkers, readers, writers, problem solvers, creators, knowledge producers, and active and capable learners in multiple ways. They have high expectations, help each student believe in himself or herself as a learner, and encourage high aspirations. They help students develop as respectful, supportive, and responsible members of their learning community. Upon entering the MAT program, students will become immersed in a highly demanding and reflective, but also highly supported process of developing their teaching practice along these lines.