Questions Specific to the MAT Program
1. WHY MUST MY CONTENT COURSES BE EGL COURSES? THE SCHEDULE OF CLASSES LISTS MANY COURSES WITH CE_ DESIGNATIONS THAT SEEM LIKE THEY SHOULD COUNT FOR THE MAT. WHY DON'T THEY COUNT?
Since 2004, our MAT Program has been accredited by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Only EGL courses, which are housed in, taught by, and responsible to the Department of English were accredited by NCTE for our program. In rare cases—for example, when no EGL course to satisfy the requirement is offered—CE_ courses may be used for MAT content requirements, but this may be done only with the prior approval of the Director of English Teacher Education. The only exception to this rule is CEJ 552: Adolescent Literature, which was specifically created for our MAT program and was approved by NCTE.
1. WHY DO STONY BROOK'S TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS REQUIRE SO MUCH MORE THAN MINIMUM STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REQUIREMENTS AND PROGRAMS AT OTHER COLLEGES?
Stony Brook University has created a distinctive Teacher Education Program that we believe produces very capable teachers for children and young adults. We believe middle and high school English teachers must have all the skills, knowledge, and abilities of non-teaching English majors and they must develop excellent knowledge, skills, abilities, and dispositions for teaching English. There is no more important job on the planet than teaching young people how to be effective, literate, critical-thinking members of their families, their communities, nation, and the world. We will support those we admit as they develop the skills necessary to take on the challenges of the teaching profession, but our program requires a strong work ethic, maturity, motivation, and a positive attitude. A good sense of humor, a thick skin, and a spirit of play also help!
Professionals don’t go to their office, shut their door, and work alone. They are members of larger professional organizations and they are also employees of public or private organizations. When teachers teach, they teach as employees of a district and a state, and as professionals in a discipline. Teachers are decision makers, but they do not make their decisions in isolation. Professional educational organizations of several types produce sets of standards that serve as guides (not necessarily rules) for teachers. In our English teacher education program, we use standards for teaching English produced by the National Council of Teachers of English and standards produced by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). We use standards for Teacher Candidate Dispositions produced by the NCTE, another national, interdisciplinary organization (InTASC), and another set by the New York State Education Department. We have also produced our own set of standards for Stony Brook teacher candidates: PEP Teacher Candidate Proficiencies. All these standards are published principles by which we make responsible educational decisions and judge our effectiveness. We do our best to help our teacher candidates use these standards to improve their practice without allowing them to drive them insane. Our methods, adolescent literature, and writing course curricula are also aligned with the New York State Common Core Standards.
Our English Teacher Education Program is accredited by the National Council of Teachers of English, the largest and oldest professional organization of K-College English educators in the nation (founded in 1912). In order to be accredited, we had to ensure that our teacher candidates would graduate with a broad knowledge of English content. If you were planning to go into advertising, communications, or college teaching, a more specialized content background in English might be appropriate; however, secondary teachers need a broader, generalist knowledge base. To ensure our graduates have gained this generalist knowledge, we require NCTE content area requirements, which are found on Part II of the MAT and the BA Advising Sheets. Before graduation from our program, students must have fulfilled each of the areas listed with at least one college course, either at the graduate or undergraduate levels. If your transcript (from any accredited college) has a course that obviously fits the area, you have already fulfilled the area. You want to be careful that as you select courses to take as part of your degree program with us, you take courses that will also fulfill any remaining NCTE content area requirements. Courses that do not obviously fulfill the content area must be approved by the Director of English Teacher Education. In order for him to approve the course, you will need to present either the official course description or the course syllabus (or in some cases, both). If fulfilling the content area requirement means you will have to take more than the minimum number of credits for the degree, so be it. It is possible to fulfill content area requirements using content from several courses, as long as the total amount of work in the content area is equivalent to a full course.
Dispositions are attitudes that guide professional behaviors. In order to be effective, ethical educators, teachers must hold positive beliefs regarding young people, their discipline, their work, and the communities they serve. As you think about attitudes of effective teachers, think of some questions, such as: Can a teacher express racist attitudes and be effective and ethical in the classroom? Can a teacher ignore students’ home lives and be an effective teacher? Can an English teacher be more effective trying to solve all problems alone or by asking other teachers for help? Can a teacher teach effectively without acting in ways that demonstrate that all students are capable of learning? These questions have pretty clear answers, but many ethical and professional questions do not have such clear answers; thus, the development of teacher candidate dispositions is an important part of our programs. To guide our discussions of teacher candidate dispositions—and to help us assess our students’ professional behaviors and awareness of professional dispositions—we make use of several sets of standards: the National Council of Teachers of English “Attitudes of Effective English Teachers,” the New York State Code of Ethics for Educators, and the InTASC Standards.
5. WHY CAN'T I TAKE THE TWO METHODS COURSES (EGL 441 & EGL 440 OR CEE 588 & CEE 593) DURING THE SAME SEMESTER?
These courses are developmental. What you learn in Methods I (EGL 441 or CEE 588) is necessary in order for you to succeed in Methods II (EGL 440 or CEE 593). At the beginning of the program, you may feel frustrated that you must take an additional semester before being approved for student teaching. But by the time they student teach, our students come to appreciate the additional semester’s preparation. As a result, they are more likely to succeed in student teaching, find satisfactory employment, and earn tenure—and actually help their students learn effectively.
You must take 3 NYS standardized teacher certification exams (ALST, CST, and EAS) and submit a standardized portfolio for assessment (the edTPA). You must pass the CST (Content Specialty test) in order to be approved for student teaching; since it takes weeks before scores are reported to us, you should take the CST during the semester you take Methods I. We suggest you take the ALST and CST during the semester you take Methods I and that you take the EAS during the semester you take Methods II or student teach. The edTPA is completed during the student teaching semester. For more information regarding the exams, visit this website.
New York State requires fingerprinting (and a criminal background check) for teacher certification. In addition, many school districts require teacher candidates to be fingerprinted in order to complete field experience hours.
We cannot guarantee that any courses are available in the summer; however, the following courses have been offered fairly regularly in past summers: CEE 505, PSY 595, SSE 350, PSY 327, and LIN 344. Many undergraduate EGL courses are offered, but graduate offerings in EGL are scarce. Methods Courses and Student Teaching are never available in the summer.