Welcome to the USC Rossier MAT Blog!

This blog is a collaborative space for students and advisors to share ideas, events and information.

If you would like to have something added to the blog feel free to email us at askmat@rossier.usc.edu!


Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology seeking Science and Math teachers!

The Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology is in search of an excellent Science teacher & an excellent Math teacher for 2018-19 to teach at the Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology (HAAT) on the Esteban Torres Community Schools complex in East LA. This position is available to candidates who hold a Single Subject Science credential in any of the disciplines.


Please see attached for more information and contact the school directly with questions.

Math job posting 2018-19

Science job posting 2018-19

#TeachingTuesday featuring Dr. Hodge

Narrative and Expository Writing: A Functional Linguistic Approach

Schleppegrell (2003) presents a three-step systematic approach to help teachers assess student writing in today’s K-12 classrooms. Grounded in functional linguistics, this approach identifies grammatical structures which, according to Schleppegrell (2003), are called upon to write in today’s classroom.

There are three narrative writing sequences and three expository writing sequences as reported by the English Language Arts Standards (California Department of Education [CDE], 1999, as cited in Schleppegrell 2003). The three writing sequences are summarized below building developmentally from simple to complex forms of writing (p. 9).

Narrative Writing

Briefly, narratives propose to “give an account of something dealing with sequences of events and experiences” (CDE, 1999b:227 as cited in Schleppegrell, 2003). In short, narrative writing is used to retell and create stories, including: stories, biographies, autobiographies, and short stories.

Pathways to Narrative Writing

  1. Recount- Report a sequence of events and make a judgement or express an attitude about events. Further development incorporates story grammar, such as plot, point of view, setting, characters, conflicts, resolution, twist or complication, and theme.
  2. Narrative- includes response to literature.
  3. Reflective Composition- Explore the significance and attempt to persuade a reader about the interpretation of a narrative.

(based on the Standards, CDE 1999a; b; as cited in Schleppegrell, 2003)

Expository Writing

Briefly, expository is intended to set forth and explain, including research and information reports, analytical / persuasive essays across different subject areas (CDE 1999a; b; summarized and as cited in Schleppegrell, 2003).

Pathways to Expository Writing

  1. Report- Describe how things are.
  2. Explanation- Develop a thesis through supporting details and examples.
  3. Persuasion- Make judgements and argue for a particular view (at the higher grades).

A Three Step Writing Assessment

Schleppegrell (2003) recommends that teachers should notice the verb grammar developmentally across four levels as illustrated in Table 1:

Table 1. Verb types with example extracted from a recount text
1.     Action


1.     Thinking/Feeling

Describe or define

2.     Saying

Dialogue or report

3.     Being/Having

Inner world

go, start, watch, take, look, arrive, line up, saw, wish, feel explain, said


have, are

From Schleppegrell (2003)

Table 1 highlights a progression in verb grammar. Notably, writing should first develop consistent use of action verbs. Subsequently, writing to express feelings can include “could have,” a feature not readily available to early or emerging writers. Consider the highest level, ideas about one’s inner world such as summary evaluations: “This is the best trip I had.” Here is a sophisticated form, but lacks paired past-tense noting that Table 1 shows mostly present tense. Additionally, many times the student’s target level showcases an inconsistent use, or in this case, a lack of variety in tense. Therefore, Schleppegrell (2003) recommends that teachers point out the occurrences of the correct form, and invite the student-author to apply the form consistently across the paper.

The second recommended step to analyze a student’s writing is to highlight the noun-phrase grammar. For example, does the student-author use articles consistently? Does the student-author use noun phrases consistently? Does the student-author use adjectives and, if so, check the control of prepositional phrases and relative clauses. Schleppegrell (2003) recommends noting the developmental level where the student-author lacks consistency; starting from the simplest to the more advanced forms. The following flow chart elucidates levels of development in noun-phrases.


Figure 1.  A Flow chart of Noun Phrase Grammar

Notable in Figure 1, “articles” such as “a” and “the” often challenge English learners.  Here the teaching tip is to direct the student in consistent use: an important skill to self-monitor and develop metalinguistic knowledge. Schleppegrell (2003) recommends teaching points based on the consistency and variety of the target form. Figure 1 starts with nouns and expands to descriptions and more elaborate complex sentence structures.

The third step recommended to analyze a student’s writing is to examine the linking clauses. The linking clauses will demonstrate cohesiveness. Some of the example linking clauses are: therefore, however, first, second, third, last of all, another point to consider, and, or, but.

Teaching cohesive markers seems to be easy to acquire for English learners by introducing target words or sentence frames. From experience in the field, I believe that student-authors latch onto the linking clauses readily because they enhance meaning-making; they assist memory by organizing and ranking; and they internalize orderliness of language. However, despite the ease of linking clauses, such an approach seems to counter the natural order hypothesis. Specifically, a good command of a variety of verb-forms naturally should precede the use of linking clauses. This is intuitive teacher theorizing. However, in practice, teachers often direct students’ to use linking clauses, even at the early or emerging stages of language development. Schleppegrell (2003), given my interpretation of the functional linguistic approach, on the other hand, recommends more attention to the order of language development in writing. Such ideas are important and enhance teacher decision-making in writing assessment.

In conclusion, Schleppegrell (2003) presents a three-step approach. When it comes to grammar and sentence structure, teachers are given little guidance because the Standards and Proficiency Level Descriptors do little to elucidate the progression of skills in narrative and expository writing (Schleppegrell, 2003). Using this functional linguistics approach highlights a natural progression and higher order. A systematic examination of grammar and sentence-structure in writing expository and narrative texts is fundamental to teaching and learning and the development of student-authors, K-12.



Schleppegrell, M. J. (2003) Grammar for writing: Academic language and the ELD Standards. Unpublished manuscript, final report, University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute, Santa Barbara, California.

#TeachingTuesday Featuring Dr. Filback

What’s Working

by Dr. Rob Filback

A significant hurdle we teachers must cross in order to have impact involves a shift of focus. It’s the move from focusing on ourselves – our performance, our goals, our adequacy as instructors – to focusing on our students – their goals, their learning, their development. Carol Rodgers (2002) calls it “seeing student learning,” which requires “slowing down” and “attending to” our learners in deeper ways. For Elizabeth Paley (2007), this shift involves enhancing our “curiosity” about our learners and doing more listening in order to gain a richer and more accurate understanding of our students. Attaining a student focus can take time, but it’s not an option. We have known for a long time that a key ingredient of effective teaching is a commitment to understanding one’s students in order to modify instruction and help them learn better (Fuller & Brown, 1975; Maynard & Furlong, 1995).

A small step we can take to shift our attention toward our students is to increase our practice of gathering and utilizing learner feedback. Routinely collecting and analyzing student data about their learning and about our teaching helps us differentiate between “what we think we are teaching” and “what students are actually learning” (Rodgers, 2002). A place to start experimenting is with informal formative assessments. Informal means using tools other than formal quizzes or exams or other standardized tests – these can be quick writes, entry/exit tickets, Twitter summaries, polls or any other number of techniques. Formative means gathering feedback during the learning process so we have time to adjust our instruction in response to what we learn.

TeachingTuesday_what's working image

At the end of a recent class, about a third of the way into the semester, I drew three faces on the board: happy, sad and confused (pictured above). I asked the students to take out an old-fashioned piece of paper and tell me one thing about the course or my teaching that was working for them, one thing that I should change help them learn more and one question that they had. This is just one tiny example – but this quick, anonymous exercise produced input that resulted in a few minor but tangible adjustments in my work with this particular group of students.

Turning more of our attention to our students’ learning is a good thing. One way to begin is by exploring the use of informal and formative assessments to collect and analyze a range of student data. There are myriad ideas in the cloud that a few simple searches will turn up. The technique is less critical than the commitment to be more curious about our students, to slow down and listen to them more and to begin to see their learning. Doing so will help us teach with greater empathy, relevance and success.



Fuller, F. & Brown, O. (1975). Becoming a teacher. In K. Ryan (Ed.), Teacher education. Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.

Maynard, T. & Furlong, J. (1995). Learning to teach and models of mentoring. In Kelly, T., Mayes, A. (Eds.), Issues in mentoring. London: Routledge.

Paley, V. G. (2007). On listening to what the children say. Harvard Educational Review, 77(2). 152-163.

Rodgers, C. (2002). Seeing student learning: Teacher change and the role of reflection.  Harvard Educational Review, 72(2), 230-253.


Job Openings in South Korea


I have been informed that there are several positions open immediately to teach in South Korea. Please see the jobs and descriptions below:

Position I.) Looking for a Full Time native teacher

Full time: Mon to Fri / 2:30 – 8:30

Payment: 2,700,000 + a

Location:  Near Seosan terminal & Hosu Lake Park (Ssosan is 2.5 hours from the nations capitol).

Vacation: 3-4 weeks per year

Benefits: negotiable (insurance, housing, vacation, etc)

Qualifications: We are looking for a teacher who is passionate and cares children carefully. We like to hear new ideas and share them together. All members of our schools are doing our best for every student and of course for one another.

– Teaching elementary and middle school age

– We have two locations

– 20 days working per month

– Bonus payments depending on experience and performance per month


Position ​II.)​ Full-time 120 hrs 1 month

(Please understand the contract will state 120 hours for full time but probably not hit the full 120 hours in a month)

Location: Seosan-si Chungcheongnam-do South Korea

1.) Working Days: 5 days Mon-Fri

2.) Working Hours: 2:30-8:30pm

(Will need to come in @ 1 to prep for the day without pay (mandatory))

3.) Student Level: Elementary – Junior High – (ADULTS (SPEAKING))

4.) Salary: 2.0-2.5 depending on qualifications and experiences

5.) Starting Date: ASAP

6.) Contract: 1 year

7.) Classes: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing/Editing

8.) Benefits: E2 visa, Furnished Housing, Health insurance, Severance with successful completion of contract, 1 way plane ticket here to South Korea, 1 full week paid summer vacation (First week of August mandatory to take vacation with the given days of the Academy), Paid holidays and ect.

9.) Education Level: 4 years Bachelor’s Degree

*** All materials (text books) are provided

*** We are looking for a creative, sincere, outgoing, kind, lovable, a team player that is willing to work with a wonderful excellent group of people and wants to help expand the business with ideas. No teaching experience needed. (Teaching Experiences is a plus) but not needed.

Description: E.B.A Academy (English Bookworm Academy) / Test Facility for EST-TEST (ENGLISH STANDARD TESTING) is looking for native English instructors. The owners and the Director of E.B.A Academy is well experienced and are from United States. We have an effective easy to teach program here at our institute. Long as you have the positive and enthusiastic attitude about teaching a higher education and care for students please feel free to apply.​

NOTE: Applicants need to prepare: Passport, Cover Letter, CV, Color Photo, Apostille Certification of Residency, Degrees, and FBI background check which should also be apostilled, alonside visa attainment from the Korean consulate.


Contact: Omni-Present Creations (Patricia Osburn)

Email: 3in1opc@gmail.com

Start your Journey – Apply to be an English Language Fellow!

Priority Deadline: November 30, 2017

Interested in teaching overseas? The time to apply is now! The priority deadline for the 2018-2019 English Language Fellow Program application is coming up at the end of this month. In order to be considered for all available projects, you must submit your application online by November 30.  Learn more and start your journey today!

To help celebrate International Education Week the English Language Fellow Program has shared a by-the-numbers display of where our 2017-2018 Fellows are. Head to our website to see the locations of 135 projects in 70 countries. We also share the top 12 Fellow-producing universities for this year. Congratulations to Teachers College, Columbia University, for being number one!

Oasis Trilingual School seeking Spanish Immersion Teacher

We our currently looking to hire a Spanish Immersion teacher this month due to an unexpected family emergency our current Spanish teacher must take care of immediately.  Therefore, I am hoping that you might have in your program a graduate student who would like the opportunity to teach in the classroom.

We are a small private school seeking an energetic, creative and passionate teacher to teach our Spanish and enrichment classes.  Our website is: https://oasistrilingualschool.org/

This educational bilingual job requires:

  • Experience and passion teaching Spanish 
  • Experience with Project-based Learning, TPR, Organic World Language, Reader’s Writer’s Workshop, and Singapore Math a plus, but not necessary.  We will train applicant.
  • Team player who works well with co-teaching
  • Ability to work with multi-age classes, and differentiated language levels
  • Native speaking Spanish teacher a plus, but not necessary
  • Strong English language skills a plus, but not necessary
  • For the right applicant, the job has the possibility to expanding into teaching subjects or administration
  • Student teachers are welcome to apply

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at: (213) 453-9892.  Thank you for your time!

Best regards,

Tamara Hernandez


Executive Director, Oasis Trilingual Community School



(626) 285-8262

King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia Seeking Teachers!

Dear MAT-TESOL program,

My name is Preston Dixon. I’m the Director of the Preparatory Year Deanship (PYD) English Department at King Faisal University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We’re an Accredited English program in our 10th year of existence. Please see our website below for more information.

We believe that the number one factor for a student to be successful is having great teachers. Thus, we’re always looking for excellent teachers.

Thank you


Preston J. Dixon

English Program Director
KFU Preparatory Program
Al-Ahsa, KSA
Mobile: 00 966 597773745
Facebook Page

PT Job Opportunity: Trinity Academy

Trinity Academy in Koreatown, Los Angeles is looking to hire 2 positions.

  1. Afterschool teacher: M-F, 3-6pm working with middle schoolers on homework
  2. Private Tutoring position


  • Heart for kids, ability to pass down knowledge, caring

If you have a car with valid license, you are eligible for more hours for the afterschool position because of pickup and drop-offs.

Please send your resume to la.trinity.academy@gmail.com attention to Crystal Chong.


• Do you teach at a Title I high school?
• Do you have between 6 -14 years of teaching experience?
• Do you think about whether to stay or leave your job?
This is a research study of mid-career educators, how they think about teacher turnover and their working conditions. In your interview, you will be asked to talk about your experiences with work-life balance, classroom autonomy, burnout, etc. The interview is only ten questions and will take approx. one hour.
Participation is voluntary. Your statements will be kept confidential and anonymous.
or contact the researcher directly:
Tomoko M. Nakajima
PhD Candidate
UCLA Graduate School of Education
(213) 222-6340 Tnak493@ucla.edu
Study IRB# 17-000881