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Dr. Robert Marzano: “My Online Master’s Degree is a Dream Come True”
I would like to take just a brief moment and thank Wilkes University and The National Institute for Professional Practice for partnering with Marzano Research Lab and my colleagues there, to develop Master of Education in the Art and Science of Teaching. It is really something; it’s a dream come true for me. When I had the chance to look into the caliber of the people at Wilkes University and The National Institute, I just thought, this is the perfect marriage. It’s probably one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me, to have a master’s degree that focuses on the framework that myself and my colleagues have put together, which we believe is a very strong framework that’s research-based and evidence-based. These are great folks, great institutions, and my personal thanks to both those organizations.
It’s a dream come true because for 30 years, 30-plus years, I have been looking at what the research tells us about good teaching, trying that out with teachers across the country, doing our own research on that, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we really do—we believe—that we do have a comprehensive model of what good teaching looks like. And that’s weighty enough or meaty enough to actually constitute a master’s degree. So, when I had the opportunity with Learning Sciences International, to put that master’s degree with Wilkes University—fine University, the master’s running through Wilkes—we are just really excited that we established this relationship. I just jumped at the chance, and the idea was I tried to create a master’s degree that I would have liked to have gone through as a teacher—one that was focused on the classrooms. As a matter of fact, in our master’s degree you have to have access to a classroom, to go through the master’s degree; it doesn’t have to be your classroom, per se ... in other words, you can be someone who has access to students, around whom you teach, around whom you can collect data, but that the focus is always on enhancing your pedagogical skill in such a way that enhances student achievement. We also built into it that as part of the master’s degree you have to demonstrate competence, which means you have to submit video tapes; you have to submit evidences of what students have learned, and you will get feedback on that.
So, I don’t believe that there is a master’s degree in the country that does that right now—again if there is a master’s, my apologies. We looked and I don’t think that exists. And it’s unified. In other words, you’re not going to get a little theory here and a little theory there; what you’re going to get is an approach, the Art and Science of Teaching, which we believe is a very robust and comprehensive approach. And the idea is that if people do this, this will enhance their pedagogical skills and student learning. Just the other day I had a principal ask—who I believe already had a master’s degree—I know that getting better at pedagogy would help me help teachers, would it make any sense for me, as an administrator, to take this master’s of arts and education? It kind of took me by surprise, but the answer is yes, anybody interested in pedagogy—now they have to have access to a classroom, that’s the important part—that might be something for them. So this suite puts it all together. If a school or district could say we have teachers that want to get advanced degrees, and maybe this is the vehicle we should use, and it filters all the way down ... so, we like to say we got the soup to nuts in terms of a district or school that wants to focus on good instruction. I think the suite is the vehicle that helps them do that.