The Templeton Honors College Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) offers a distinctly classical approach to teacher development. Many teacher training programs focus exclusively on methods with less regard for content or the philosophy and history of education, while programs in the liberal arts may fail to address questions of methods (techne) important to secondary educators. Believing in the unity of truth, and that methodology should always be informed by philosophy and history, each Templeton course is both philosophical and practical in nature; through the Great Books and Socratic Seminars MAT students explore perennial questions of education and pedagogy, and have the opportunity to develop their skills in the practical arts of teaching under the guidance of college faculty and experienced secondary educators. This approach encourages teachers to explore timeless questions and develop the practical arts of teaching in the light of both the great teachers and great books of Western Civilization, with the ultimate goal of forming virtuous students and teachers.
- Entire MAT curriculum integrates philosophy, history, and pedagogy in a classical framework.
- Individual courses on special education, classroom management, adolescent development, assessment, and philosophy of education—all taught from the classical perspective with the goal of cultivating the student to be a liberal artist.
- Courses stress rigorous discussion, depth of inquiry, and personal reflection over quantity of content.
- Mentorship program by college professors and experienced teachers in your subject area.
- Observation of master teachers in classical schools.
- Professional development workshops in your discipline throughout the academic year.
- Teaching Apprenticeship in the Templeton high school Summer Scholars Program.
- Opportunity for Pennsylvania teacher certification in secondary subject areas (certification can be easily transferred to the 45 other states with which Pennsylvania has reciprocity).
- Two five-week summer residencies in suburban Philadelphia, with field trips to local institutions of art, science, history, music, and theater. Summer residencies meet 6 days a week, from 9 AM to 3 PM, with occasional evening lectures.
- Optional cultural trips to New York City or Washington, D.C.
The proper goal of education is not just knowledge but the lifelong love of learning, the cultivation of a habit of the heart that desires wisdom and finds goodness and beauty in seeking the truth. The duty of teachers is therefore first of all to be themselves lovers of truth and wisdom—master learners—so that they may also invite their students to share this love and enter into the life of learning.
Flowing out of this conviction, the Master of Arts in Teaching, with a concentration in Classical Education at Eastern University has three main foci:
1. Classical education begins with human nature and identity—what it means to be human. Our answer to this question determines how we understand what it means to learn, which determines in turn how we view the work of teaching. Positively, this means that this degree program begins from the fundamental questions of human nature, the meaning and purpose of life, and the nature of the truth, beauty, and goodness. These questions frame all the discussions throughout the program.
Education is an “art” in the classical sense of the term because it is a skill like any other. Since it is a skill that entails learning and teaching (and always in that order), both teachers and students can improve their ability to learn, and their ability to teach. Students are thus learners apprenticed to those who have, by training and study, become master learners.
2. As it is commonly conceived and practiced in North America “classical education” encompasses a wide range of philosophies and practices. One reason for its growing popularity is dissatisfaction with the general state of formal education. This program thus focuses on the art and skill of asking meaningful questions about our practice as teachers so that we can grow not only in our understanding of what we teach, but of why and how we go about it.
3. In all of its courses this program presupposes the inestimable and intrinsic worth of the human person, created in the image of God and fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of this assumption our program will give elevated attention to students with learning differences and disabilities who also bring the gift of their humanity to the classroom. Moreover, this assumption also requires giving serious consideration to the idea that the human person, made in the likeness of God, has a telos proper to its nature; and any serious consideration of education requires a diligent study of the ethical formation of each child toward the summum bonum.