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What is 4MAT

4MAT 4MAT is a process for delivering instruction in a

by way that appeals to all types of learners and
engages, informs, allows for practice and
Bernice McCarthy creative use of material learned within each
lesson. A very important component of this
Educ 3100 method is the need for teachers/instructors to
understand and present their material
November 5, 2007 conceptually, presenting the big picture, and the
meaning and relevance of material to be

4MAT Lessons

1) Connect
2) Attend
3) Imagine
4) Inform
5) Practice
6) Extend
7) Refine
8) Perform

Concrete Experience
Brain-Compatible Teaching



• We know, too, that learning entails interaction between




the different modes of brain processing.




• Linear- Operates best through structure, sequence.


Prefers language, is sequential, examines the elements, Experience

has number sense. Works to analyze or break down REFINE ATTEND
information. Left Left
• Round- Operates out of being, comprehends images, Active Act Reflect Reflective
seeks patterns, creates metaphors, is simultaneous. Experimentation IMAGINE Observation
Strives to synthesize, consolidate information. Right
• The interplay between round and linear is crucial to Conceptualize

higher learning and thinking. It provides a greater range



and depth of understanding and encourages creative PRACTICE INFORM



expression and problem solving. Left Left



Abstract Conceptualization

What the students do What the Teacher does

Start Teaching in Quadrant One

Moving from Concrete Experience to Reflective Observation Quadrant One
• Meaning connections • Gaining insight • Climate
based on experience • Creating high interest in the – Trust and openness with permission and

• Storytelling to create material to come
meaning encouragement to explore diverse meanings
• Establishing resonance
• Engaging in dialogue • Becoming aware of the • Method
• Establishing relationships value of the learning – Discussion of experiences. The students engage in
• Listening and sharing • Experiencing the collaborative learning, each contributing their
similar experiences discrepancies that the individuality.
• Speaking with subjective learning will unravel
voice • Focusing on present and
• Teacher
• Experiencing camaraderie past understandings – Initiates, motivates, and creates experiences that
• Creating a sense of “I know capture the students and strengthens student
• Experiencing the diversity
of how others see things something about this, and I collaboration.
want to know more”

4 MAT Lesson Design 4 MAT Lesson Design

Quadrant 1 Quadrant 1
• Quadrant 1 RIGHT: Connect • Quadrant 1 LEFT: Attend
– Connect students directly to the concept in a – Guide students to reflection and analysis of
personal way. Capture students’ attention by the experience. Summarize and review
initiating a group problem-solving activity
similarities and differences. Establish a
before delivery of instruction. Begin with a
situation that is familiar to students and builds positive attitude toward the diversity of
on what they already know. Construct a different people’s experience. Clarify the
learning experience that allows diverse and reason for learning
personal student responses. Facilitate the
work of cooperative teams of students. Elicit
non-trivial dialogue from students.

Move to Quadrant Two Quadrant Two
from Reflective Observation to Abstract Conceptualization
• Climate
• Connecting fascination to facts • Blending personal experiences
• Comprehending the learning with expert knowing – Receptiveness, taking in, being briefed, a
• Patterning thoughtful, reflective ambiance of attuned an

• Receiving expert knowledge
• Examining pertinent • Clarifying purpose active listening.
information with the most • Bringing out the structure and
salient facts form • Method
• Establishing links between • Theorizing – Information delivery through lecture, readings,
subjective experience and • Engaging in interactive
objective knowing questioning
and demonstrations to examine expert
• Seeing both the big picture • Focusing on current findings. Move from the world of self to the
and the supporting details hypotheses world of experts.
• Organizing • Creating knowledge that will
• Connecting to other similar give a solid ground to further • Teacher
ideas understanding – Create the bridge with a nonverbal task and
• Classifying and comparing
then delivers the content, thus melding
student experience with expert knowledge.

4 MAT Lesson Design 4 MAT Lesson Design

Quadrant 2 Quadrant 2
• Quadrant 2 RIGHT: Imagine • Quadrant 2 LEFT: Inform
– Provide a metaview, lifting students into a wider view of the – Provide “acknowledged body of knowledge”
concept. Use another medium (not reading or writing) to
connect students’ personal knowing to the concept (i.e.
related to the concept. Emphasize the most
visual arts, music, movement, etc.). Involve learning in significant aspects of the concept in an organized,
reflective production that blends the emotional and the organic manner. Present information sequentially
cognitive. Transform the concept yet to be taught into an so students see continuity. Draw attention to
image or experience, a “sneak preview” for the students. important, discrete details; don’t swamp students
Deepen the connection between the concept and its with a myriad of facts. Use a variety of delivery
relationship to the students’ lives. Relate what the
students already know to what the experts have found.
systems; interactive lecture, text, guest speakers,
films, visuals, demonstrations, when available.

Move to Quadrant Three

from Abstract Conceptualization to Active Experimentation Quadrant Three
• Learning important skills • Recording the details in • Climate
• Practicing and action, not just in theory
– Active! Teachers offer opportunities for

experimenting • Questioning
students to tinker, try things out, to begin to
• Using expert knowledge • Comparing results
become experts themselves.
to get something done • Seeing how form
• Testing accuracy operates
• Method
• Doing • Resolving discrepancies – Working in centers, with partners and in
• Establishing the link • Reaching conclusions teams (or alone), experimenting, tinkering,
between theory and practicing.
• Mastering skills
application • Extending the learning • Teacher
• Seeing how things work into usefulness in real life – Coach, facilitating, nurturing experiments,
• Predicting guiding the questioning, providing adequate
practice for mastery.

4 MAT Lesson Design 4 MAT Lesson Design
Quadrant 3 Quadrant 3
• Quadrant 3 LEFT: Practice • Quadrant 3 RIGHT: Extend
– Provide hands-on activities for practice and – Encourage tinkering with ideas, relationships,
mastery. Check for understanding of concepts connections, Set up situations where student
and skills by using relevant standard materials have to find information not readily available in
such as worksheets, text problems, workbooks, school texts. Provide opportunity for student to
teacher prepared exercises, etc. Provide design open-ended explorations of the concept.
opportunities for students to practice new learning, Provide multiple options so student can plan a
(learning centers, games fostering skills unique “proof” of learning. Require students to
development, etc.). Use concept of mastery organize, synthesize their learning on some
learning to determine if re-teaching is necessary personal, meaningful way. Require students to
and how it will be carried out. Students may begin the process of planning how their project will
create additional multi- modal practice for each be evaluated, identifying their own criteria for
other. excellence.

Move to Quadrant Four

from Active Experimentation to Concrete Experience
Quadrant Four
• Climate
• Adapting the learning • Taking a position – Celebration, one that is performance-oriented,
• Modifying and reworking • Creating new a sharing place with results that can be

• Verifying usefulness discrepancies measured, with new and better questions,
• Summarizing • Making new connection with growth.
• Creating new questions • Evaluating
• Method
• Breaking boundaries • Exhibiting, publishing
• Re-presenting – Mentoring, creating resources, and enhancing
• Synthesizing
• Performing
self-discovery, assisting learners as they
• Establishing future use
• Celebrating
adapt and create their own usefulness.
• Refocusing
• Editing and refining • Sharing the learning • Teacher
• Confirming conclusions – Cheerleader, facilitating independence,
getting resources, championing, and leading
students to meticulous self-evaluation

4 MAT Lesson Design 4 MAT Lesson Design

Quadrant 4 Quadrant 4
• Quadrant 4 LEFT: Refine • Quadrant 4 RIGHT: Perform
– Give guidance and feedback to student’s plans, – Support students in learning, teaching, and
encouraging, refining, and helping them to be sharing with others. Establish a classroom
atmosphere that celebrates the sharing of
responsible for their own learning. Help students
learning. Have opportunity for students to practice
analyze their use of the learning for meaning, new learnings. Make student learning available to
relevance, and originality. Maintain high the larger community, i.e. books students write are
expectations for completion of chosen options. shared with other classes, students report in a
Help mistakes to become learning opportunities. school newspaper, student work is displayed, etc.
Summarize by reviewing the whole, bringing Leave students wondering (creatively) about
students “full circle” to the experience with which further possible applications of the concept,
the learning began. extending the “what ifs ” into the future.

So how do I use this to plan a lesson?

• Sample Lesson: Elementary

• Sample Lesson : High School Poets
• Sample Lesson: Junior High Science