Faculty Update Alumni

Exceptional faculty hold a special place in the hearts of their students for many, many years.  No where is this more true than at SIT.  A peer-to-peer relationship develops that expresses itself in a variety of ways.  MA in Teaching faculty consider themselves colleagues of their graduated students and take seriously this special status with their 3000 alumni around the world.  Just like this pond at SIT reflects the trees around it even as it sustains them, students reflect and sustain their teachers, while both enhance the disciplines of teaching and learning.

This letter, slightly altered for purposes of this blog’s more public setting, keeps MAT alumni up to date on the graduate degree they all value so highly.

Dear Alumni,

We are pleased to be back in touch with you and to send you some promising news from the SIT Graduate Institute.  Under President Adam Weinberg’s new leadership, World Learning has renewed its commitment to the future of SIT’s MA in Teaching, to maintaining and strengthening the quality of our programs and enhancing MAT’s potential for growth and innovation.

Presently the Academic Year MAT has one of its highest percentages of international students, with nearly 40% of our group from countries other than the U.S.  Our teacher certification program continues, and we have students doing their internships in public schools in Northampton (Massachusetts), New York City, Boston, Keene (New Hampshire) and Brattleboro. We still offer our international internships in Mexico, Costa Rica, Morocco, and South Africa as well as domestic internships in Boston, New York City, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

The Summer MAT continues to go from strength to strength. At present many of the SMAT 28s are in Saudi Arabia, as recipients of a scholarship that funds 50% of their studies in return for a two-year commitment to the Interlink center in Riyadh.

Our graduates continue to be in demand the world over and are making a difference in the educational field.  To illustrate this, Alex reported recently on a trip to Brooklyn (NY) International High School where he is supervising a current certification intern.  He met with the principal who, upon learning of his SIT affiliation, exclaimed:  “Bring me more SIT people.  I will hire them.  They are fantastic teachers who work extremely well with our students.”  Currently, that high school has three MAT alums on its faculty.

We have just received the Institutional Report from Praxis with reference to our MAT Certification students who took exams in academic year 2008-2009. We are pleased to announce that our institutional scores are significantly higher than averages from other universities in Vermont. Not only that, but the SIT MAT certification students’ scores greatly exceed the national average!

Your work overseas and with adults in the U.S. is equally heartening.  We are very proud of our alumni who are effecting change on local, regional and even national levels. To mention a few examples:

  • The thesis of an alum on the topic of reading strategies resulted in the significant redesign of the curriculum of the only institution of higher education in the Federal State of Micronesia.
  • In Uzbekistan, the insights from another student’s final project are informing the teacher training of scores of local educators, who disseminate them further through a program of mentoring and teacher training.
  • In Niger a former SMAT student initiated a project, which was later supported by a grant from the United Nations and involves hundreds of educators in peace and disarmament education in elementary schools.
  • Our former SMAT student, currently part of the summer faculty team, Radmila Popovic of Serbia, was invited to give a plenary address at the IATEFL conference earlier this year.
  • An AYMAT graduate is heading a program for refugees and immigrants in Boston and is taking our interns each winter to work in her school.
  • Many AYMAT and SMAT graduates now are certified SIT TESOL Certificate trainers and are conducting trainings for SIT all over the world.

The faculty is involved in many extra-program initiatives within World Learning. These include the Massachusetts English Language Training project, which supports experienced public school teachers in getting their ESL licensure, as well as teacher training and English curriculum projects in Korea and Algeria, and a cross-border ESL peace education camp for Dominican and Haitian teenagers.

As you may know, the MAT program was downsized in January 2008.  In the Spring of 2008, formal discussions were initiated between World Learning and Marlboro College, which was interested in acquiring the MAT program. After several meetings, World Learning decided to keep the MAT program and ended these discussions.

So, the program may have been temporarily constrained, but we are not diminished and are excited about the future. Despite competition from an increasing number of MA TESOL programs, we continue to graduate the largest number of MATs in the U.S., possibly in the world. The characteristics of this program that make it unique are very much in place. The traditions and fundamental principles and paradigms of the program which you experienced are still prominent.  We still teach and practice Reflective Inquiry, the Experiential Cycle, and Collaborative Learning, and we continue to place utmost importance on a strong and supportive learning community and social justice. And, yes, we still value feedback and small group work!

We would like to hear from you about the great things you are doing.  We would also like to have you visit us on campus. Of course, we hope to run into you at the language teacher education conferences we attend. Find us and many other alums at the TESOL Convention 2010 in Boston.  We encourage you to spread the word about our Program to your colleagues and invite them to visit campus as well.

Best wishes from,

The MAT team:

Susan Barduhn

Beverley Burkett

Bea Fantini

Paul LeVasseur

Pat Moran

Alex Silverman

Elizabeth Tannenbaum

Elka Todeva

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3 Responses to “Faculty Update Alumni”

  1. Alumni Respond to Faculty « MAT Admissions Says:

    […] Respond to Faculty By matadmissions Alumni respond to the update letter from faculty.  Note the strong, loyal feelings expressed here.  (Notes have been edited lightly for reasons of […]

  2. Jen Rawlings Says:

    Glad to hear things are improving for the MAT program. I am in Saco, Maine where I teach ESOL grades K-5 and am really enjoying it. Let me know if you’re ever in the area. I hope to run into some of you at TESOL in the spring.

  3. Michel DROUERE Says:

    It’s good that the MAT is still around, congratulations to the facutly, you have done a great job and the program deserves to be around for many years to come!
    Michel DROUERE, Lisbon, Portugal (MAT Alumnus)

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