It’s application season at the Reading M.Ed. program at UTPA. As I looked through applications today, I started thinking about why people choose to come to our program.
For many students it’s simply a matter of proximity. Other than UTPA, there are very few places that offer on-campus graduate literacy courses. UTPA is close by, it’s relatively inexpensive for a graduate program, and many people are already familiar with the campus since they did their undergraduate degrees here.
However, there are other reasons our program is a good choice:
- The people who teach in the program understand the Rio Grande Valley and the children who live here. This area and the local schools have some unique characteristics related to border life, language issues, and culture. We have extensive experience working with local schools and families and we bring that experience into our classrooms.
- In addition, most people who teach in this program are actively involved in research that explores the local educational context and how that context can be improved. Again, we bring this research and what we’ve learned into our classrooms to share with our students.
- Because we recognize that teaching can be a very isolating profession and because we know that teachers can learn a great deal from each other, our program promotes connections with other literacy teachers. We encourage a great deal of productive student talk in our classrooms because we know that it helps people learn. We also support a continued literacy community even after graduation through this blog and through our Facebook page (look for us on Facebook under “Schall Reading”).
- We encourage students to pursue questions important to their teaching. Most classes have some sort of student choice built in so that students can explore what they are interested in—within the confines of the course subject, of course. This might mean that the student chooses the topic of their final research paper, or that the student chooses how to respond to an assigned course reading, or that the professor offers two professional books and the student chooses which to read.
Find out more about the Reading M.Ed. program at http://www.utpa.edu/dept/curr_ins/graduate/read/read.html.
Get more information about the Master Reading Teacher certificate program at http://www.utpa.edu/dept/curr_ins/graduate/mrt/mrt.html.