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Five Tips for the MAT Portfolio Requirement

 

Five Tips for the MAT Portfolio Requirement

Many master's degree programs put a cap on the educational experience with a thesis, or with a "capstone project." The idea is to demonstrate the skills that you have developed as the result of your studies, and to put long hours into something with professional polish to it. For most of the Master of Arts in Teaching programs that project is called a portfolio.

An MAT portfolio is an assemblage of items that you developed during your classroom endeavors and more important, during your internship as a student teacher. But it is meant to reflect the entiretyof your teaching experience, offering a series of educational experiences set in chronological order. Even though a portfolio as a symbol of completion, delivered at the end of a MAT program, it begins to come together during the first weeks in the classroom. It may include lesson plans, behavior plans, internal lab projects, teaching videos or almost anything else that provides insight into your learning process. You'll be collecting potential items for your portfolio throughout your graduate teaching program; here are some suggestions for that process.

    • In most cases, graduating students present the portfolio to a faculty advisor or a committee as part of the degree completion process. Think of the portfolio as a set of visual aids that are both self-explanatory and that you can employ in a discourse describing your experience in the MAT program. You can incorporate documents like lesson plans or classroom notations into a slide presentation program that flows with a verbal presentation.

    • Talk to a faculty advisor about this whole endeavor early on. Look at finished products produced by some of your predecessors and decide on a format. Portfolios today are increasingly becoming electronic documents. If that is an option you choose or a requirement you must meet then think about how you'll merge all that you collect into an electronic whole.

    • Look on your portfolio as a map. It illustrates your path through the MAT program and some of the things you learned along the way. For that reason it's important to include things you learned at the beginning of the program, if for no other reason than to illustrate the distance you've come by the time you've completed your internship. You may decide early on that a series of lesson plans is a good portfolio item; including the first ones you develop on assignment is a valuable comparison for those that you learn to write during your student teaching experience.

    • If you're going to use video, think about what you want it to show. Setting up a camera in the classroom is going to be a distraction for your students, so think about how to de-fuse the behavior it might generate. And then decide what you want to illustrate. Is it presentation of an assignment? Discussion of a reading assignment? Explanation of your homework grading? Video clips are more effective as a presentation device when they are brief.

    • Look on your MAT portfolio as a legal brief. You want to provide clear highlights of your educational experience, and you want to provide proof of your growth into a capable teacher. It's more than a well prepared scrapbook; it's a device to show that you have learned well and that you are capable of taking what you learned into a classroom and applying it, without the need for supervision or support.

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    Five Tips for the MAT Portfolio Requirement

    Many master's degree programs put a cap on the educational experience with a thesis, or with a "capstone project." The idea is to demonstrate the skills that you have developed as the result of your studies, and to put long hours into something with professional polish to it. For most of the Master of Arts in Teaching programs that project is called a portfolio.

    An MAT portfolio is an assemblage of items that you developed during your classroom endeavors and more important, during your internship as a student teacher. But it is meant to reflect the entiretyof your teaching experience, offering a series of educational experiences set in chronological order.

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