The Learning and Teaching Concentration

Learning & Teaching places the education of the whole learner at the center. Whether it is building relationships with students, honing your instructional practice, gaining pedagogical content knowledge in your licensure area, generating insights into classroom dynamics, developing a cultural competence to bridge worlds of experience, or understanding how data can inform your craft, the goal is to ensure that you have the instructional skill and professional awareness to spark and spur learning for every student.

The MA in Educational Transformation is designed to prepare preK-12 educational professionals who have interdisciplinary skills and focus on the assets that children bring to school, rather than focus on deficits that undermine learning. These interdisciplinary skills and an asset-oriented perspective are necessary to 1) promote effective instructional practices for children with diverse needs in an urban context, and, 2) to lead transformations of classrooms, schools, districts in order to ensure a just and equitable education for all children.

The MA in Educational Transformation is designed  to prepare preK-12 educational professionals who have interdisciplinary skills and focus on the assets that children bring to school, rather than focus on deficits that undermine learning.

Course of Study

Year 1

Teaching Residency 1 

Students will be embedded in a K-12 classroom to engage in intensive, school based co-teaching and collaboration. In this supervised field-based experience, students learn with and from partner teachers. Regular observations and feedback by supervisory clinical faculty will equip students with the skills to connect theory, research, and practice. The focus of this course will be the relationship between cultivating a classroom that supports student learning and implementing engaging instruction that facilitates student learning.


Pedagogy for Striving Learners 

In this course students will learn effective pedagogy to differentiate and accelerate learning by addressing skills and content gaps of striving learners: learners who may be English language learners, performing academically below grade level expectations, or have special needs. Building from knowledge of K-12 learners’ strengths and needs, students in this course develop a conceptual framework for organizing, designing, and implementing assessment and instruction that allow culturally, linguistically, and ability-diverse learners to achieve content standards. Students will implement high impact, research-based practices, while learning how to analyze and evaluate theory and research that supports these instructional practices. This is will equip students with skills that go beyond the ability replicate these practices. Through this course, students will learn to assess effectively K-12 students’ learning needs, make efficient and impactful instructional decisions, and analyze and apply emerging and future research and theories as a professional educator. The focus of this course will be sustaining a classroom culture of student learning, differentiating instruction to address the needs of diverse learning, and the effective use of formative and summative assessments to inform instruction. Students take Pedagogy for Striving Learners simultaneously with Teaching Residency 1 so that a dialogic relationship exists between the course and the K-12 residency classroom experience.


Culturally Relevant Approaches in Education 2

Culturally relevant practices in education are fundamentally learner-centered while they also acknowledge how the identity and cultural practices of both the learners and teacher form part of the context for learning in schools. Building off of CRPE 1, in this course students will focus on sustaining a classroom community and culture that is informed by, and respectful of, K-12 learners’ and families while developing as reflective practitioners who constantly examine their identity and role in the classroom in relationships with students and families as well as part of the professional school based community. CRPE 2 is taken over Fall and Spring Semesters simultaneously with Teaching Residency 1 and 2 so that a dialogic relationship exists between the course and the K-12 residency classroom experience.


Teaching Residency 2 

As a continuation of Teaching Residency 1, in this course students will develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to leverage classroom community and culture to maximize student engagement and motivation for learning and growth and address student resistance and engage student cooperation. This supervised field based experience will progress from classroom observation and assistance through an articulated gradual release of responsibility that builds toward co-teaching in small group and whole class settings. This co-teaching will include the assessment of student learning needs; planning and implementing engaging, standards-based instruction; the assessment of student learning gains; and the effective management of K-12 learners’ engagement, motivation, and behavior.


Growth and Learning in Children and Adolescents 

Students in this course explore and evaluate child and adolescent development research and theory with an emphasis on child and and adolescent development in diverse communities and in communities experiencing trauma and stressors. Particular attention will be paid to the social-emotional context of learning in schools. In addition, this course will equip students with foundational knowledge from psychology, sociology and learning sciences with the goal of evaluating research findings and assessing their implications for instruction and learning in the school context


Content and Literacy Development Pedagogy 

The course will equip students with the foundational knowledge about literacy development in the content areas. Students examine how the functions and forms of reading and writing differ and overlap in the content areas and research-based strategies for content-based literacy instruction. Students will evaluate text structure, linguistic demand and vocabulary. As a result of this course students will be able to teach K-12 learners how to communicate content knowledge as well as comprehend and interpret content area text. Students take Content and Literacy Development Pedagogy simultaneously with Teaching Residency 2 so that a dialogic relationship exists between the course and the K-12 residency classroom experience.

Year 2

In the second year of the Learning and Teaching concentration, students serve as the instructor of record in a PreK-12 classroom or school in the District, at either a DCPS school, a charter school or a private school.  As a paid teacher, your full-time job is the instruction of the children in your classroom. You will also be enrolled in six courses over two semesters (3 of which will be through a hybrid on-line/in-person format), taking courses needed to earn your teaching certificate.  In our first year, we will be focusing on either a certificate in English as a Second Language/English Language Learner (ESL/ELL) or in Secondary Science.  The courses you will take will vary according to your previous undergraduate major and/or coursework and your satisfaction of other competency requirements under OSSE’s teacher preparation licensing requirements.

Depending on the teaching credential you wish to obtain, your courses will be drawn from courses similar to the following descriptions:

ELL/ESL Certification

Case Study Project in Second Language Acquisition

The purpose of the Case Study Project is to ensure that the teacher candidates have the ability to conduct a small-scale case study of ELL learners. The focus is on observing, describing, and reporting the ELL learner’s language acquisition process. In order to do so, the teacher candidates have to find a related SLA theory to work on, identify an ELL learner as participant in the project, use a research design (either a pre-test, post-test design or interviews) to collect relevant data about the participant’s second language acquisition process, describe the findings and give a conclusion about what they learned.


ESOL Methods Portfolio

Teacher candidates revise three developed activities to create a portfolio that integrates multiple skills into the English-language classroom that better suit the learners’ needs. The revised activities show the teacher candidates’ ability to plan for standards-based instruction, use technology and resources to create engaging classroom activities, and incorporate knowledge about language acquisition and ESOL teaching methodology into classroom teaching. A summary description reflects upon decisions made and their potential effectiveness in assisting learners with English learning in the classroom.


Curriculum Development in Second Language Classrooms

Using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model or any other established lesson plan, teacher candidates design lessons that appropriately differentiate instruction for varying language and proficiency levels. Candidates will also focus on the integration of reading, writing, listening, and speaking into planned lessons, and they will also learn to differentiate and distinguish language and content objectives when planning these lessons.


Practicum in ESOL

Advanced teacher candidates work with an experienced, certified ESOL instructor in an ELL-designated classroom or may use their own ELL-designated classroom for the purposes of developing and teaching lesson units to help English Language Learners with their English acquisition.


Methods and Techniques in Teaching ESL

Each candidate is required to work with an ESL student outside of class throughout the semester. Candidates gather information about their students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds, learning styles, and motivations for learning English. Candidates are required to design 5 separate lessons for their students based on 5 different methods of language teaching learned in the course. They then teach the 5 lessons to their students on separate occasions and write a reflective journal entry for each lesson. In each journal entry, candidates present an overview of the lesson and analyze the lesson’s effect on student learning.

Secondary Science Certification

Science Pedagogy

Effective teachers of science understand how students learn and develop scientific knowledge. Preservice teachers use scientific inquiry to develop this knowledge for all students. In this course, preservice teachers will: A) Plan multiple lessons using a variety of inquiry approaches that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how all students learn science. B) Include active inquiry lessons where students collect and interpret data in order to develop and communicate concepts and understand scientific processes, relationships and natural patterns from empirical experiences. Preservice teachers will include applications of science-specific technology in the lessons when appropriate. C) Preservice teachers will design instruction and assessment strategies that confront and address naïve concepts/preconceptions.


Science Learning Environments

Effective teachers of science are able to plan for engaging all students in science learning by setting appropriate goals that are consistent with knowledge of how students learn science and are aligned with state and national standards. Preservice teachers will develop science lesson plans that reflect the nature and social context of science, inquiry, and appropriate safety considerations. Candidates design and select learning activities, instructional settings, and resources–including science-specific technology, to achieve those goals; and they plan fair and equitable assessment strategies to evaluate if the learning goals are met. To demonstrate satisfaction of NTSA Standard 3, preservice teachers will: A) Use a variety of strategies that demonstrate the candidates’ knowledge and understanding of how to select the appropriate teaching and learning activities – including laboratory or field settings and applicable instruments and/or technology- to allow access so that all students learn. These strategies are inclusive and motivating for all students. B) Develop lesson plans that include active inquiry lessons where students collect and interpret data using applicable science-specific technology in order to develop concepts, understand scientific processes, relationships and natural patterns from empirical experiences. These plans provide for equitable achievement of science literacy for all students. C) Plan fair and equitable assessment strategies to analyze student learning and to evaluate if the learning goals are met. Assessment strategies are designed to continuously evaluate preconceptions and ideas that students hold and the understandings that students have formulated. D) Plan a learning environment and learning experiences for all students that demonstrate chemical safety, safety procedures, and the ethical treatment of living organisms within their licensure area.


Safety and Regulatory Issues in Science Education

Effective teachers of science can, in a P-12 classroom setting, demonstrate and maintain chemical safety, safety procedures, and the ethical treatment of living organisms needed in the P-12 science classroom appropriate to their area of licensure. Preservice teachers will: A) design activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate the safe and proper techniques for the preparation, storage, dispensing, supervision, and disposal of all materials used within their subject area science instruction. B) Design and demonstrate activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate an ability to implement emergency procedures and the maintenance of safety equipment, policies and procedures that comply with established state and/or national guidelines. Candidates ensure safe science activities appropriate for the abilities of all students. C) Design and demonstrate activities in a P-12 classroom that demonstrate ethical decision-making with respect to the treatment of all living organisms in and out of the classroom. They emphasize safe, humane, and ethical treatment of animals and comply with the legal restrictions on the collection, keeping, and use of living organisms.

Scientific Knowledge and Effective Assessment in Science Education

Effective teachers of science provide evidence to show that P-12 students’ understanding of major science concepts, principles, theories, and laws have changed as a result of instruction by the candidate and that student knowledge is at a level of understanding beyond memorization. Candidates provide evidence for the diversity of students they teach. Preservice teachers will: A) Collect, organize, analyze, and reflect on diagnostic, formative and summative evidence of a change in mental functioning demonstrating that scientific knowledge is gained and/or corrected. B) Provide data to show that P-12 students are able to distinguish science from nonscience, understand the evolution and practice of science as a human endeavor, and critically analyze assertions made in the name of science. C) Engage students in developmentally appropriate inquiries that require them to develop concepts and relationships from their observations, data, and inferences in a scientific manner.