Matt Coss Leads Instruction

Second Language Studies (SLS) Doctoral Candidate Matt Coss is the Lead Instructor within the 2023 and 2024 Chinese STEM and Language Assessment STARTALK Teacher Education Programs at MSU

Three students sitting around a round table in front of posters with multi-color Post-It notes

MSU was recently awarded a second round of funding for a STARTALK professional development program for Chinese language teachers in the United States. Second Language Studies PhD student Matt Coss is the Lead Instructor for this program. Prior to joining the Second Language Studies program in August 2021, Matt taught Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to students from age 4 to retirees in public school, private school, and intensive summer programs, including teaching at UNC Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. He also worked for over four years at the National Foreign Language Center (University of Maryland), developing professional development and pedagogical materials for Less Commonly Taught Languages and providing technical and quality-assurance expertise for Mandarin instructional and assessment materials. 

Matt is also an award-winning teacher trainer and presenter at local, regional, national, and international World Language conferences. Matt holds a master’s degree in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor’s Degree in Romance Languages (Hispanic Linguistics) and Asian Studies (Chinese) with a minor in Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

In the Second Language Studies program, Matt has worked as a Research Assistant to Dr. Koen Van Gorp and Dr. Aline Godfroid and has been the Assistant to the Editors for two internationally-recognized academic journals (Language Learning and TASK: Journal on Task-Based Language Teaching). Matt has also worked on the Organizing Committee for the 2023 American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference (Portland, OR, March 2023).  

Matt’s research focuses on the multiple existing and potential interfaces between additional language learning research and practice, with particular focus on (task-based) language leaching and assessment, language program design and evaluation, and language teacher education. Recent and ongoing projects have investigated curricular innovation by novice language teachers, persistence in mobile-assisted language learning, test equivalence for L2 Chinese writing tests, and language teacher educator emotion labor. He has recently published peer-reviewed articles about Task-Based Language Teaching for Medical Spanish and a national survey of L2 Chinese placement testing practices in the United States, and is currently co-editing a book focused on evidence-based transformation in L2 Chinese pedagogy for the 21st Century (forthcoming wit Routledge).  

In his capacity as Lead Instructor for MSU’s STARTALK program, he has developed (along with other program team members) a series of 120 hours of synchronous and asynchronous online and face-to-face professional learning experiences for in-service Chinese language teachers from all over the United States. This summer (2023), the teachers came to MSU for a two-week intensive (60 hour) face-to-face series of workshops in which they developed performance-based language assessments and innovative curricular units to take back to their classrooms for the 2023-2024 school year. 

The 2022-2024 grant cycle will conclude with a series of participant reflection meetings in which teachers share their successes and collaboratively brainstorm to overcome struggles relating to curricular innovation and novel assessment practices they have tried post-program. 

The 2023-2025 program, which will involve online learning from January-May 2024, in-person workshops in summer 2024, and post-summer sessions during the 2024-2025 academic year, is now recruiting K-16 Chinese language teacher participants.