Feb 25

The Growth of MAT-TESOL and USC Rossier Online

If any JETs or JET alumni are thinking of doing a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), this is definitely worth a read.  I also encourage any JETs interested in teaching to join the JETAA Educational Professionals LinkedIn group:


This blog post was originally published at USC Rossier Online and written by Dr. Rob Filback and Dr. Christian Chun.  Dr. Filback is Associate Professor of Clinical Education and Co-Chair of the Global Executive Doctor of Education program.  He serves as a coordinator for the MAT-TESOL.  Dr. Chun is Assistant Professor of Clinical Education for the MAT-TESOL program.

Origins of the MAT TESOL

Our MAT-TESOL degree that launched in 2010 is the product of a multi-year, collaborative redesign process. The MAT-TESOL program (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) boasts a rich heritage at USC and has featured prominent scholars over the decades such as David Eskey, Fraida Dubin, and Stephen Krashen. In 2008 we decided to build on this foundation by redesigning the TESOL program in order to create a new, innovative and forward-looking degree that could better prepare graduates for the new challenges and new opportunities now facing English language teachers around the world.

We began by inviting an external review by a team of experts: Donna Brinton, Maureen Andrade and Lia Kamhi-Stein. Then, using this team’s recommendations, the faculty worked together to overhaul the USC TESOL program. The existing degrees were closed and one entirely new degree, the MAT-TESOL, was created. This included designing all new courses focused on current problems of practice , expanding the role of clinical field experiences, restructuring the capstone and practicum experiences to be more professionally relevant, and integrating technology including offering the degree online through 2SC.

About the Degree
The resulting MAT-TESOL degree directly addresses prevailing challenges being faced by TESOL educators in classrooms around the world. The new degree is also more dynamic and nimble, designed to give faculty the ability to make ongoing changes and to develop new units and modules as new needs are identified. The degree consists of four terms of coursework requiring approximately 14-15 months to complete. The online degree and the on-campus degree utilize the exact same curriculum, faculty, and requirements. The target audience for the MAT-TESOL includes current or prospective teachers who wish to enter or advance in the field of TESOL. Roughly a third of program participants are pre-service or novice teachers, while the remaining students have a range of teaching experiences that include teaching young learners or K12 students, university students, and or adults. About half of the students in the program are situated domestically in the U.S. and about half complete the degree while residing in another country. The majority of participants who complete the MAT-TESOL are U.S. citizens.

Growth of the Program
Since the launch in 2010, the number of enrolled graduate students has increased dramatically, from a 12-member on-campus cohort in the Fall 2010 to 39-member on-campus cohort for Fall 2012. The online cohort students have increased as well in the last two years, bringing the total number of both on-campus and online students in the Fall 2012 cohort group to 71 students! They have come from a variety of countries including Spain, Italy, Japan, South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, and of course, the USA. In addition, the Trojan TESOL society has been reactivated with numerous students planning activities and events for the coming academic year. Several of our MAT-TESOL students have presented on their work at professional conferences including the regional TESOL conferences. Our graduates are currently teaching across the United States and abroad in a variety of educational settings.

To learn more about the MAT-TESOL program, request more information or check out the USC Rossier Online TESOL page!


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