Last Spring, three Thomas More College MAT candidates presented with Dr. Joyce Hamberg, MAT Coordinator, on the topic of, Instructional Strategies which Support Change in Clinical Practices. The national AACTE/AILACTE* Conferences were held in Indianapolis on March 1-3, 2014. This is the second year the MAT program has presented at the conference and the first year that students were presenting. The MAT candidates participating included Chris Bryson, C.J. Fryer, and Brittany Mention. Thomas More College was the only college to have students present, which was an asset of the conference.
Involvement in activities such as the conference is a huge enhancement to the student’s development, and collaborating with Dr. Hamberg gave the MAT candidates the unique opportunity to present with their mentor and professor. Dr. Hamberg began the presentation with an overview of models of learning that encourage students to share the responsibility for learning. The MAT candidates shared classroom examples of the positive changes that occur when a teachers model their curriculum on research-based instructional strategies designed to make a difference. Primarily they shared the Marzano strategies and how they are using these strategies in different settings.
The Marzano strategies include identifying similarities and differences, summarizing and note taking, reinforcing effort and providing recognition, homework and practice, nonlinguistic representations, cooperative learning, setting objectives and providing feedback, generating and testing hypotheses, cues, questions and advance organizers. In this method, the emphasis is not on lecture but on active learning, student interaction, collaboration and higher-order thinking skills. Many of Northern Kentucky’s local districts use these strategies, and Thomas More College MAT graduates have an edge when they begin teaching because they have already learned the strategies. The MAT program has employed the Marzano strategies since 2007, but continues to seek new research about the strategies to enhance instruction.
The conference audience included professors, academic deans and chairs from across the nation including some international representatives. This year’s theme was advocacy for students, with an emphasis on students who are not being challenged in the classroom resulting in their educational needs not being met. This is from the national level all the way down to the classroom and impacts all levels of decision-making. An emphasis was placed on being more involved and vocal, and sharing feedback from the bottom up. The MAT candidates came away with much information and many ideas to ponder to improve their approach to the profession.
“I was very proud of our students, because they each have a different role in their job. They were all able to share how they differentiate instruction for different needs. The MAT candidates represented Thomas More College in an excellent manner; their presentation skills were professional and comprehensive. The way they presented what they had learned was very focused and targeted. I couldn’t have been prouder of how each of them used inclusive strategies to address the needs of all students. It was evident that the audience was engaged in the presentations due to the questions they asked and the follow up with the presenters after the session,” said Dr. Hamberg.
*AILACTE is the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education. AACTE is the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.
MAT Candidate presenters
Chris Bryson is an adjunct professor in the business department at Thomas More College and is in the MAT Program earning his teaching certificate. He also teaches high school math with the Kenton County Academies for Innovation and Technology and is based at Simon Kenton High School.
C.J. Fryer is a math teacher at Grant County High School. Because of the training he has received in the MAT program, he has been asked to coordinate several professional development offerings to share his knowledge with other Grant County High School teachers.
Brittany Mention teaches middle grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies. She uses a variety of instructional methods, including the Marzano strategies, in her position at Mercy Montessori School in Cincinnati.
For more information about the Thomas More College MAT program, please visit www.thomasmore.edu/MAT.