Two graduate students sit at a desk

Deliberate Practice

The term “deliberate practice” was coined by the Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and has recently been popularized in writings by MacArthur Genius award-winner (and former teacher) Angela Duckworth, and journalist/author Malcolm Gladwell.

Watch the video to see deliberate practice in action.

Curriculum Overview

The Relay Teaching Residency starts with the foundational Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) curriculum. Relay’s innovative MAT curriculum focuses entirely on the educational theories and practices that improve student learning in the classroom.

The MAT curriculum centers around four elements of instruction: building subject knowledge (Content), cultivating a fun and productive learning environment (Classroom Culture), developing personal connections with students and families (Self & Other People), and creating high-quality lessons (Teaching Cycle). Together, these four elements support student academic growth and achievement, along with social-emotional learning.


Relay Infographic


Program Structure and Assignments

We expect MAT candidates to set ambitious, attainable academic and character growth goals for students, track their progress towards those goals, and analyze student performance to inform instruction. Our program structure is designed to provide you with the opportunities for practice and individualized support needed to build these skills over time.  

The MAT curriculum is delivered 60% in-person and 40% online, and the majority of assignments consist of video submissions of your teaching in action and authentic classroom work samples (e.g., lesson plans).

Year 1 M.A.T.:  Positive Culture, Foundational Skills, State Certification

In the first "residency" year, you’ll learn the basics of how to build relationships with students, families and colleagues; you’ll apply proven strategies for establishing a positive and productive classroom culture; you’ll learn teaching strategies specific to the grade levels and subject areas that you teach (e.g., high school biology); and you’ll develop skills in lesson planning and assessment design. You will also develop foundational knowledge and skills in data-driven instruction so that you can measure and track students' academic performance and character growth. In most states, you will need to pass certification exams by the time you complete the first year of the program in order to be eligible to begin the second year of the program.

Imani Belcher
The Relay Teaching Residency has helped me make professional connections with master educators that serve as both my professors and mentors in the field.
— Ymani Belcher, Relay Teaching Residency ‘18

Year 1: Additional Support for Residents

Deliberate Practice

Practice is the most promising pathway to excellent teaching. Deliberate practice — practice with a focus on the concrete and specific teaching skills that maximize impact in the classroom — is a cornerstone of the residency experience. You’ll participate in weekly practice sessions, each lasting 3-4 hours, that complement and support your master’s coursework. For example, you might practice responding to common student misconceptions. Then, you would receive expert feedback, apply that feedback, and do it again to build your skills. You will be released from your teaching responsibilities each week to join Relay faculty and other residents for deliberate practice sessions.

Gradual Transition into Teaching

The Relay Teaching Residency provides you with a carefully structured, gradual transition into teaching as your skills and effectiveness increase during your first year as a teacher-in-residence. As the school year progresses, you will teach more often and take on more responsibilities in the classroom. By late spring, you should be ready to teach at least one period a day and demonstrate overall readiness for lead teaching the following year. If you show early promise, your partner school may accelerate the transition to lead teaching during the first year.

hours spent in schools
4X the amount of time spent by most teacher candidates

Support from Resident Advisors

The Resident Advisor is an experienced teacher at your campus who mentors and supports you during the first year of the program. The Resident Advisor is meant to provide a window into teaching, and into the curriculum and culture of your partner school. In this role, the Resident Advisor fulfills several responsibilities to assist your development, including modeling and co-teaching, curriculum and lesson-planning, and communication with Relay.

Year 2 MAT: Culturally Responsive Teaching, Advanced Skills, Master's Defense

In the second year, when you are employed as a fully-licensed lead teacher, you’ll broaden your knowledge by focusing on unit planning and incorporating literacy across content areas. You will learn specific techniques to build rigorous and joyful classrooms — including principles for culturally responsive teaching that will enable you to create an inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds.  Additionally, you will prepare for the Master's Defense, a capstone project in which you will analyze student performance and character growth and reflect on your own development as a teacher.

Educating All Students: Accommodations for Diverse Learners

Over the course of the two-year program, you will learn how to understand and intentionally respond to differences among the learners in your classroom. You will also develop skills to identify and implement accommodations that align with individual students’ needs. In particular, you will learn how to use Universal Design for Learning to accommodate learner variability during whole-group instruction.

Relay offers a Special Education Certification program for teachers who would like to further build their skills to support students with exceptional needs after completing the MAT program. Learn more about Special Education Certification.