Why BU Wheelock Changed Its English Education MAT Degree

Shows a pile of booksFuture English educators enrolled in BU Wheelock’s master of arts in teaching (MAT) program can now do much more than prepare to teach writing, composition, and literature at middle and high school levels. Changes to the program will also prepare them to be teachers that acknowledge past injustices, promote cultural inclusion and diversity, and expand the English curriculum. 

The updated MAT program, renamed English Education for Equity & Social Justice, gives students concrete skills they can use in the classroom. Christina Dobbs, director of the program, and Davena Jackson, an assistant professor of English education, recently revised the curriculum for the English Education MAT from the ground up to reflect the values the program espouses.

Teaching equity and inclusion

According to Dobbs, teachers want to know exactly how they can build equity and inclusion in their lessons. “A lot of teachers tell me that they want to take these ideas about social justice and add them to their English language arts curriculum,” she says. “We’ve combined learning how to create a lesson plan or developing a grading approach with broad training about justice matters.” 

Like all of BU Wheelock’s graduate programs, the English Education program has always striven to promote an inclusive attitude. But Dobbs and Jackson wanted to make that emphasis explicit. “We decided to change the name and make a few changes to make sure the focus of the program was obvious,” says Dobbs. 

The English Education for Equity & Social Justice MAT program gives prospective teachers tools they can use to structure their lessons to incorporate their values. “Our graduates will have a set of skills for planning, instruction, and assessment that are equitable for students from all sorts of backgrounds,” Dobbs says.