MAT @ AUCA:The AUCA MAT builds upon the innovative MAT model of Bard College, New York, and seamlessly integrates four components: foundational education theories, disciplinary content knowledge, mentored practicum in pedagogy, and academic and action research. The curriculum balances content area pedagogy with understanding of learning and adolescent development. Courses are taught by AUCA faculty, and by faculty from Bard College in New York as well as from the Bard Global Network.
The AUCA MAT program represents a unique partnership between AUCA and a leading Kyrgyz educational non-profit – Bilimkana Foundation, which operates a network of 12 (and growing) schools all across the country and in Kazakhstan. The partnership allows AUCA MAT to enlist expert teachers from Bilimkana network to act as Mentors in the MAT teaching-practicum components, and access the Bilimkana schools for placement of pre-service candidates.
The AUCA MAT program admits current teachers, as well as candidates who are aspiring to become school teachers. The program offers courses that address significant issues of the Central Asian educational context – for example courses on inclusive education, multicultural education and identity, and on law, society and sustainable development. Participants are required to defend a thesis, and pass a comprehensive exam to graduate with the teaching license from Kyrgyz Ministry of Education.
AUCA MAT is a 2-year, six-semester program – summer, fall, spring – where the summer semester classes are held on campus, and the fall and spring semesters embody a blended learning approach. Thus, for the fall and spring semesters, the program combine on-line lectures and consultations with face-to-face on-campus coursework over one full week at the AUCA campus. In other words, during the fall and spring semesters, candidates primarily spend their time in schools – either teaching in their current classrooms, or being placed in Bilimkana School Network as trainee teachers.
This blended approach enables AUCA MAT candidates to continue their jobs in schools (if they are in-service candidates), or undergo extensive practice teaching (if they are pre-service candidates) in a partner school. The time spent in the classroom by program participants is structured for mentored practice, and for conducting classroom research. The mentored practicum and classroom research are integrated with coursework in disciplinary content and pedagogy. Such a program structure ensures that active work in classrooms is a consistent frame of reference for AUCA MAT candidates throughout the academic year; and that they graduate from the program as teachers who understand the connection between their discipline and teaching practice.
The blended approach also enables colleagues from the Bard Global Network to engage as contributing faculty to the AUCA MAT program. The AUCA MAT program has already enlisted contributing faculty members from Bard New York and Al-Quds Bard.