Hitchcock Center Teaches in Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Mount Holyoke College

By Jessica Schultz

The Hitchcock Center has partnered with Mount Holyoke College to provide core science curriculum training for Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) pre-service teachers. The program, taught by Education Director Colleen Kelley, has run for 5 weeks at the Hitchcock Center this fall.

Colleen lead the MAT participants through curriculum designed to help them establish and set up a “STEM identity” in their classrooms. This is a learning environment that supports learning and ignites curiosity about the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). With this as the overarching vision, Colleen guided the pre-service teachers through activities including: how to use Hitchcock’s Living Building as a teaching tool; inquiry based learning; making and tinkering; engineering and design. The Hitchcock program culminates with a mini-lesson plan design project for their class.

“We’re so excited to be partnering with the Hitchcock Center,” said Ruth Hornsby, assistant director of Mount Holyoke’s teacher licensure programs. “I know of no other teacher preparation program offering pre-service teachers scientific content and teaching skills for K-12 students utilizing a certified Living Building. We are thrilled to extend our program’s emphasis on social justice to include meaningful learning about environmental justice. ”

In addition to the curricula, Colleen guided the pre-service teachers in a review of the Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) framework standards and understanding how lessons and activities can be designed to meet multiple teaching standards. The complexity of the standards means teachers commonly start out approaching them individually. A road map for approaching multiple standards in a given lesson, allows for a more efficient use of student time and teaching resources.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to have these soon-to-be teachers here at the Center learning how to design inquiry-based engineering and design challenges,” said Colleen Kelley, education director for the Hitchcock Center. “The students are able to take part in the lesson themselves to see how it feels to be the student learning — then modify the model for their teaching purposes. My goal is that they take away innovative ideas to engage students in being critical thinkers and problem solvers that can be transferred to any content area. We call this creating a STEM identity.”

The Hitchcock Center has been proud to work with Mount Holyoke College students at the undergraduate level for over 15 years. Teaching with the MAT program strengthens our partnership with our ability to continue working at the graduate level.

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