A Museum-based residency model for a Masters in Teaching Earth Science

Monday 3:30pm Weeks Geo: AB20
Oral Presentation


Rosamond Kinzler, American Museum of Natural History
David Randle, American Museum of Natural History
To address the shortage of Earth science teachers in New York State (NYS), the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) launched a Masters of Teaching (MAT) program in 2012 with the aim of increasing the number of certified Earth science teachers. To date, 50 teachers have graduated from the program and most are engaged as full time teachers. With encouraging results from the pilot phase, the program has been institutionalized through authorization from the NY State Board of Regents to offer the MAT degree as part of the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. The fourth cohort of teachers will finish this summer and a fifth cohort of 15 candidates will begin. A major challenge is the recruitment of academically strong Earth science majors with the dispositions to be successful in high-need schools.

The intensive 15-month curriculum comprises one summer of museum teaching residency, a full academic year of residency in high-needs public schools, one summer of museum teaching residency, a science research residency, and concurrent graduate-level courses in Earth and space sciences, pedagogy, and adolescent psychology. An emphasis is placed on field-based geological studies, experiential learning, and preparation to teach science based on the principles presented in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards. In an effort to ensure that MAT candidates have a robust knowledge base in Earth science, we selected teacher candidates with strong backgrounds in fields including geology, meteorology, space science, and paleontology, combined with demonstrated commitment to become Earth science teachers.

This presentation will introduce this residency model of teacher preparation, present the program as a possible path for geoscience students interested in the teaching profession, and discuss some of what AMNH has learned from four cohorts of students, some who have been teaching in high-needs schools for three years.