SMART Program Helps Train Teachers
Teacher Travis Martin tries to make pre-calculus easy for his Rock Bridge High School students.
"I enjoy working with the kids, and get to do the math," he said.
Martin majored in math as a college undergraduate, then received his master's degree from Mizzou's SMART program.
"SMART stands for Science and Math Academy for the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers," he explained.
SMART lets math and science graduates earn their master's in slightly more than a year, shortening the time it usually takes to become a teacher.
"These people who may not have had a route to becoming a teacher in the past now have a way to do that," said Sandra Abell, MU education professor.
Now, professors like Abell hope a new $2 million grant will make the SMART program even smarter.
The National Science Foundation provided the money so researchers can observe student teachers in actual classrooms, not laboratories, then critique their lesson plans and recommend better teaching methods.
"It's going to give them an opportunity to see what things they should be doing, they shouldn't be doing and should be doing differently," said Martin
"We think that, what we're going to learn, we're going to be able to feed back to universities all over the country that prepare math and science teachers," Abell added.
The grant lets up to 90 student teachers participate in the study.