Maine College of Art Master of Arts in Teaching (MECA MAT) graduate students have taken up short term residency to work with our kindergarten through grade 6 students.
The MECA MAT program blends theory with practical, action-based learning in hands-on settings that enrich both creativity and critical thinking. Field work and community engagement are essential components of the program. Currently, MAT Teacher Candidates in Kelly McConnell's courses, including PK-8 Curriculum Design, Development, and Assessment, are working with Breakwater students to connect theory to practice.
When asked what makes getting into the classroom and working with children so compelling, the MECA group took time to reflect before answering thoughtfully: “There can be a disconnect between theory and practice. The way to make a true connection is to test the theory in the classroom.”; “Working with children gives us the opportunity to learn from happy accidents or unforeseen outcomes.”; “Seeing and experiencing in real life is profound.”; and “Children are also teachers. Through experience we learn from each other.”
Using Breakwater’s studio as a teaching lab, graduate students are implementing ideas about classroom design, embedding Habits of Mind or "Studio Thinking" into the first days of school, and applying methods for instruction and assessment of learning objectives.
Kelly McConnell knows Breakwater and the integrated, authentic learning and teaching we do here first hand. Before collaborating with Fern Tavalin to design the MECA MAT program, Kelly designed Breakwater’s innovative visual arts curriculum. An art teacher here for twelve years, Kelly recognizes that Breakwater's focus on developmentally appropriate practices and educating the whole child makes it a rich site for preparing art teachers. In return, the graduate students augment and strengthen our visual art curriculum with their skill, enthusiasm and creativity.
Welcome MECA graduate students!