Educational Psychology

Master of Science in Education in Contemporary Curriculum & Instruction


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Pedagogical Core Curriculum

The course of study in the MSED program supports the core values of Marist College identified in the institutional Mission Statement. The MSED program is designed around courses and experiences that help teachers expand and build on their professional knowledge and skills. The goal is to prepare innovative, flexible teachers who are collaborative, reflective, and well grounded in current theories, contemporary professional practices, and innovative teaching strategies. The program is oriented around a fifteen credit hour pedagogical core curriculum that cuts across five essential areas of knowledge and skill needed by teachers: 1) Art and Science of Teaching, 2) The Learner, 3) Literacy, 4) Foundations, Context and Purpose, 5) Research and Inquiry.

1. Art and Science of Teaching

Teaching comprises an ever-changing, unique combination of scientific reasoning and artistry intended to promote the highest level of student achievement. Skills that foster student motivation, communication, self-worth, and content mastery provide a foundation for developing artistry to further enhance the learning experience. This domain encourages students to explore the techniques of teaching while developing effective teaching styles consistent with their individual personalities.

2. The Learner

At the center of all education is the learner. In order to provide effective education to all learners, teachers need to understand the specific learning needs of each student, and how those learning needs are affected by differences in development, temperament, cognitive functioning, and social, economic, and cultural contexts. In this domain, contemporary psychological theory and research are applied to learners in the context of the study of development, assessment, and learning. Study in this domain allows educators to create classroom learning communities where everyone, including teachers, are unique and respected learners who participate actively in their own education.

3. Literacy

This domain is the cornerstone of all teaching and learning. Here teachers acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching others to become critically literate in all six domains of literacy: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing. Furthermore, teachers learn to appreciate how the acquisition of critical literacy is a necessary requisite for a lifetime of growth and empowerment. A wide variety of theoretical and practical matters pertaining to literacy are explored in this domain.

4. Foundations, Context, and Purpose

The purpose and meaning of any educational activity is not a given, but must be constructed, articulated, and justified within the particular context in which it occurs. Teachers and other educational professionals must, therefore, have a deep awareness of this context—including its cultural, historical, linguistic, technological, and philosophical roots—in order to engage in purposeful and meaningful teaching. This essential domain of study prepares teachers who are able to reflect critically on teaching practices and educational policies in light of their complex relations to the environing culture. This study aims to equip teachers to make sense of classroom practices through an understanding of the larger social context in which these classrooms are embedded.

5. Research and Inquiry

Teachers, in order to be effective, must be adept researchers and they must be actively engaged in meaningful forms of inquiry. Moreover, teachers must have the capacity to critically examine various research claims and to assess the relative worth of such claims to understanding their own classroom practice and environment, which includes using technology to obtain and evaluate information from the Internet.

Teachers must also be able to foster research skills in their own students and create a learning environment that encourages inquiry and critical thinking. This domain gives teachers experience from which to sharpen their expertise in this key area.

Course descriptions and curriculum summary Course descriptions and curriculum summary

The Conceptual Framework of the Teacher Education programs identifies its purpose as preparing reflective professionals who think critically and work collaboratively to help all students learn, and is also consistent with Marist’s three ideals: excellence in education; sense of community; and commitment to service. This purpose is further defined in the seven core values/beliefs listed below:

Excellence in Education

In keeping with Marist’s commitment to excellence in education, the program strives to prepare school professionals who:

  • Use critical thinking and creative problem-solving in their professional practice.
  • Are reflective professionals who examine their practice and seek to improve it in a process of continual professional development.
  • Use evidence-based practices, adapted to the demands of the specific professional contexts.

Sense of Community

In keeping with Marist’s commitment to a sense of community, the program strives to prepare school professionals who:

  • Are active members of collaborative teams, and work across disciplines.
  • Build relationships that support student learning and well-being.

Commitment to Service

In keeping with Marist’s commitment to service and promoting the dignity and value of every human being, the program strives to prepare school professionals who:

  • Promote justice, equity, and access for all students while working to improve schools.
  • Base their practice on an understanding of the diversity in human development and cognitive functioning as it impacts learning.

Electronic Portfolio Requirement

In addition to coursework, all teacher education candidates are required to complete, submit, and defend an electronic portfolio based on the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards as their capstone project. The electronic portfolio demonstrates the professional knowledge and skills candidates have developed across the program. This is a multimedia, standards-based document that is stored online. An early course (EPSY 506- Content Area Assessment and Portfolio Development) prepares candidates to use the online Marist system for portfolio development. Candidates are required, in their last semester in the program, to participate in meetings across the semester in order to receive guidance and help to complete their electronic portfolio. Candidates will complete, submit, and defend their electronic portfolio in front of an evaluation committee, no later than five years from matriculation. Completion is recorded when the portfolio is passed. Passing the electronic portfolio is a requirement for the Masters degree.


At the time of matriculation, each student will meet with the Director of Graduate Programs to design a Study Plan which candidates are to follow. Candidates will have regular meetings with the Director of Graduate Programs for purposes of discussing academic progress and planning.

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