SU Dissertations

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 13
  • Item
    Social Media in Middle School Literacy Instruction
    (2023-05) Wivell, Rebecca; Finch, Maida; Sessoms, Diallo; Williamson, Thea; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative case study took place in an 8th-grade classroom and was considered practitioner research which explored an innovative approach to writing instruction utilizing a social media platform. Participants included six, 8th-grade students who were all students in a writing class and helped to seek the answers to the following questions: (a) how do middle school students use Twiducate for academic writing in the classroom?; (b) what is my role as the teacher related to writing instruction using Twiducate?; (c) how do middle school students collaborate and give peer feedback for writing purposes? Formative data analysis was used throughout this study and I used coding to find patterns in my data and develop themes. This study shows how students used social media to write and collaborate and what the teacher’s roles are during those events. Findings include the teacher transitions between four roles: discussion facilitator, feedback coach, writing teacher, and supporter to improve student writing. Students used Twiducate to engage in the writing process and created a class developed artifact to refer to for learning, while collaborating and giving peer feedback throughout the process. Twiducate empowered students to be independent writers and built a community of learners invested in each other’s writing. Findings extend knowledge about middle school writing and ways to integrate social media into classroom settings, while engaging students.
  • Item
    Building Bridges: Making Space to Connect Identities in a Newcomer Multilingual Classroom with Writing
    (2023-05) Espíndola Peixoto, Sinélia; Henry, Laurie; Bugdal, Melissa; Franzak, Judith; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    The purpose of this dissertation was to explore ways for multilingual students to draw on their background knowledge and culture during writing instruction. In addition, I wanted to investigate how newcomer multilingual students (Canagarajah, 2013) understood and assessed their writing, the relationship between students’ self-assessments, their writing identities, as well as their understanding of who a writer was. Multiple linguistic repertoires (Garcia, 2009) and writing (Casanave, 2002; 2003) are effective and beneficial resources to empower multilingual students. This practitioner research (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009) using case study methods (Stake, 1995; Yin, 2018) in a literacy support class helped me, the teacher and researcher, evaluate my own teaching, and explore the writing identities of the whole class (16 participants total), with four focal participants who were sixth grade newcomer multilingual students. The research questions helped me investigate ways to accommodate students’ needs as writers, explore varied assessments, and discover the relationship between self-assessments (Andrade, 2019), writing identities and students’ understanding of writers. The qualitative study data included interviews, writing samples and conferences about those samples, portfolio review conferences, teacher generated artifacts and reflections, as well as students’ self-assessments and classroom audio recordings. Findings from the study showed that by accommodating students’ needs as writers in a space that allowed the fluidity of languages and use of multimodalities (McCarthey & Garcia, 2005; Pacheco & Smith, 2015) most students felt motivated to write, and believed they were learning writing in English. Conferences and self-assessments helped multilinguals learn about themselves as writers in diversified ways, expressing their understanding of their writing, and of their writing identities as complex and seeing growth as writers (Skerrett, 2013). Students became more aware of their needs as writers, tried different ways of helping themselves when facing challenges, and understood writing could be improved with revisions.
  • Item
    Getting Those Stories Told; Utilizing Social, Community and Artifactual Literacies to Share Local Black Historical Stories
    (2022-12) Reid, Melissa; Franzak, Judith; Kim, Koomi; Porter, Heather; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This participatory action research documented ways that historical stories of the Black community were shared in the larger Berlin, MD. community. This act of community literacy was grounded in the belief that literary encompasses many more practices than just reading and writing. These literacy practices are social practices, intertwined with people’s cultural identity, sense of themselves and their world view and knowledge. The group tasked with sharing these stories was made up of Black community elders, along with museum staff and volunteers of the Taylor House Museum, myself included. With the knowledge that dialogue is key to expanding literacy practices, we worked collaboratively to create exhibits in the museum as well as sharing stories in other locations that the participants deemed appropriate. Data collected included meeting minutes, individual interviews transcripts with committee members as well as museum and event visitors. Multimodal data included artifacts, images, and video from the exhibits and events, as well as photographs taken by participants documenting their favorite parts of exhibits and events where the stories were told. Analysis of the data found that participants made meaning with artifacts and narratives by collectively discussing ownership of artifacts and information. They had gifts that they were willing to share with the group in the collaborative actions of sharing local Black historical stories. Participants had connecting networks they utilized to design museum exhibits, and they sought a variety of opportunities to ensure on-going access to local Black historical stories.
  • Item
    Exploring the Experiences and Japanese Foreign Language and Literacy Development of University Students in the U.S.
    (2022-11) Cooper, Sean; Kim, Koomi; Porter, Heather; Williamson, Thea; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative study of a U.S. postsecondary institution’s Japanese language program sought to comprehend in detail the ways by which university students develop and experience Japanese language and literacy. Utilizing the lens of Sociocultural Theory, three contexts within the single case study were examined in the form of three differently-leveled Japanese classes in the Japanese program. The participation of twelve focus students allowed for exploration of the research question and sub-question: how do university students studying Japanese as a foreign language in the United States learn and experience Japanese language and literacy, and how do these students’ perceptions and interpretations of their Japanese language learning experience contribute to the shaping of their identities? The findings of this study revealed that students underwent a variety of processes while taking a Japanese course: Students relied on experiences with in-class learning through interactions with the instructor and their peers. They used sociocultural resources available to them both inside and outside of class to create opportunities to engage in Japanese learning through multimodal means. Students also brought their own experiences and perceptions in to their learning, with language backgrounds, relationships, and emotion playing a role in their Japanese language and literacy development. This study also illuminated that some students made attempts to integrate aspects of Japanese into their own identity as Japanese language learners. Findings inform instructors of Japanese and other Less Commonly Taught Languages of ways to improve sociocultural language and literacy development.
  • Item
    Literacy Practices of Latina Immigrant Mothers at Home in a Rural Area With Young Children from Birth to Age 4
    (2022-12) Bueno, Maria Ines Castro; Williamson, Thea; Kim, Koomi; Meyer, Amber; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    The aim of this research study was to examine how Latina immigrant mothers in a rural area experience literacy at home with their young children from birth to age 4. In addition, the purpose of this study was to explore experiences, perceptions, values, and beliefs about early literacy through the Latina mothers’ stories and testimonios. There were 16 participants, which included eight mothers and their eight children, who live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. This single case study used qualitative research methods to capture the circumstances and interactions in which literacy practices occurred in the routines of the mothers and their children at home. These literacy experiences were explored from a sociocultural perspective. The findings from the study were: Latina immigrant mothers with young children engaged in reading practices with a variety of books at home; Latina immigrant mothers fostered oral emergent literacy through faith-based, religious storytelling; and Latina immigrant mothers’ perceptions of education and values guided their beliefs about early literacy. The study, which was conducted during fall and winter 2021–2022, contributes to the knowledge about literacy practices that occur in Latina immigrant homes, and it was intended to generate information that will help educators value Latina immigrant mothers’ literacy practices.