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Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Master of Arts in Teaching

Pre-Practicum and Field Experience
MTEL Examination
General Administrative Issues

Program Inquiries

Prof. Carole Cloutier, Program Director
Herter 408,
(413) 545-4916

Master of Arts in Teaching (under reconstruction)

The MAT Program Spanish prepares candidates for teaching careers in middle schools and junior and senior high schools, grades 5-12. The degree requires two years of study for the MAT Degree and Initial Licensure in Massachusetts. Massachusetts certification is honored by more than thirty other states through the Interstate Certification Compact.

Persons who seek admission into the program should possess a B.A. degree with a major in Spanish, and they must have earned a cumulative average of 3.0 or better in their major and of 2.75 or better in their overall undergraduate course of study. In addition, candidates are requested to submit at least two letters of recommendation from previous teachers and a well-considered statement indicating a genuine commitment to a career as a teacher of Spanish, grades 5-12. Personal interviews are highly recommended. Scores of the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (G.R.E.) are required by the University, and the test should be taken as early as possible. It must have been taken within five years of the date of application to the program.

Persons who have completed state certification requirements in their undergraduate programs in addition to having earned a B.A. degree in Spanish are also eligible for the MAT Program, provided they have met all requirements and are prepared to undertake the full program including the Pre-Practicum and Practicum.

Strongly recommended but not required is an undergraduate minor (at least eighteen semester hours) in a second teaching area.

For a complete brochure, catalogues, and application form, write to Professor Carole Cloutier, Spanish MAT Director, Spanish and Portuguese, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.



Number of credits: Thirty five credits beyond the B.A. are required, even in the case of students holding a “Licenciatura” or similar diploma. This also applies to students who have taken graduate level courses through Continuing Education or at this or another university if those credits were used to complete a degree. In cases where credits were not used to complete another degree, the student may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for the transfer of up to 6 credits. The courses to be transferred must haven been taken no more than 3 years prior to the student’s acceptance into the MAT Program.

Program of Study

  • Course Requirements: 25 credits of course work and 10 credits of teaching practicum

Major Fields Requirements (12 credits)

  • 3 credits in Spanish Second Language Acquisition
  • 3 credits in Applied Linguistics (Technology and FL education or SLA theories)
  • 3 credits in any other area of Hispanic Linguistics
  • 3 credits in Hispanic Literatures, Culture and Civilization

Professional Education Requirements (23 credits)




Education 524

The work of the middle and high school teacher.


Psychology 693I

Psychology in the classroom



EDUC 677

EDUC 691

EDUC 513

Leadership in Tutoring or

Multicultural Education or

Social Issues in Education or

Conflict & resolution in Multic. Educ.




Foreign languages teaching Methodology



Microteaching: Pre-Practicum Field Experience.



Student Teaching


EDUC 510

Teacher in the classroom



Education and the Law


*Take concurrently

**Internship may be completed by those with teaching experience who are already under contract to teach.

MTEL Examinations
Graduate students are required to achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy skills (CLS) early in their program of study (normally in their first semester and/or prior the practicum). All students must achieve a passing score on the CLS AND the Subject Matter (SM) before they will be allowed to register for their student teaching practicum. Under no circumstances, a student will be allowed to student teach without having passed the required MTEL examinations.


Pre-Practicum and Practicum (field experience)

Pre-Practicum objectives
Students will:

  • observe ad work with a wide range of students;
  • participate in non-direct instructional work and the management of the classroom;
  • participate in grading and gain exposure to the complexities of grading;
  • experience planning, teaching, and assessing;
  • develop a variety of instructional methods and the ability to adapt them to changing circumstances of adolescents in a school context;
  • be responsive to Massachusetts and appropriate professional organization guidelines.

Practicum (field experience)
In order to receive a teaching license in Massachusetts, student teachers must complete a supervised field experience following Department of Education regulations, and demonstrate work toward mastery of the “Professional Standards for Teachers” and subject matter specific standards. This full practicum provides the opportunity to meet the requirement. STEP student teachers are expected to meet the standards at a level that is consistent with that of beginning teacher. This does not mean absolute mastery of the Standards, but means that students can provide ample evidence of growth and development in learning to be a teacher in each of the areas. Cooperating teachers and university representatives must agree that students are ready to teach in the classroom on their own. The Standards for Student Teachers can be found in the Appendix, and again on the Performance Assessment Instrument for Student Teachers (PAIST) form. STEP has designed a portfolio process through which the student teaching experience can be documented and evidence of work on each of the standards can be organized.

The state requires, at a minimum, 150 hours of student teaching. At least 135 of those hours must be spent in actual teaching. The remaining 15 hours can be spent in observation or assisting a cooperating teacher. STEP is designed for student teachers to experience MORE than the minimum number of hours. Of course, the more time spent in actual teaching, the more a person gets out of the experience. By semester’s end, the Cooperating Teacher, University Supervisor, Subject Matter Faculty, and the Director of STEP Student Teaching must agree that a student teacher is prepared and has successfully completed all requirements that lead to endorsement for licensing. Note to students who are enrolled in EDUC 500S and EDUC 500M; student teachers who complete the 150 hours before the semester’s end, may NOT stop student teaching early – completion of the course requires completion of the entire semester.

Digital Portfolio (to be completed by the fourth semester)
Documentation of the Experience and Student Teacher’s Development: Through their portfolio, all student teachers are required to provide documentation of their teaching practicum and their development as student teachers. In addition, student teachers will develop professional development plans at the beginning and end of student teaching.

General Administrative Issues

Credit for incompletes can be obtained only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. The Department strongly discourages the practice of requesting and granting Incompletes. Graduate faculty should check students’ transcripts before granting Incompletes. Advisors should keep track of their advisees’ progress and intervene promptly when problems develop. Once a year, the Graduate Studies Committee will review the cases of students with two incompletes. Appropriate warnings will be made by the Graduate Program Director and the Department Director. If the situation is not corrected in a timely fashion, the student may be dismissed and/or lose funding.

Independent Study courses for the MAT program can be counted towards the respective degree. All requests for Independent Study courses must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. A descriptive proposal and the consent of the professor must be included in the petition presented to the GSC by the end of the pre-registration period. (A change of level in an existing course does not constitute an Independent Study.) When registering for an approved Independent Study the student and the professor must be sure to supply a brief title of the course.

In exceptional circumstances, variances to the program may be requested with the approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Program Director, who must refer the petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.

These guideline are intended to supplement the applicable regulations of the Graduate School with which the student should be familiar. Copies of the Graduate School Bulletin, The Graduate School handbook and other publications can be obtained at the Graduate School.

 These guidelines will apply to all MAT students entering the graduate program in the fall of 2004 and thereafter. Students who entered the program before this date may follow these guidelines if they wish.