Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Sandra I. Musanti

Second Advisor

Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto

Third Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline B. Koonce


Teachers in the 21st century public school classroom are often faced with systemic pressures—from the state and district level—that may influence their instructional practice. With the increasingly globalized country and exponential increase in emergent bilingual students, it has become imperative that teachers reflect on the types of literacy pedagogy employed with their students, especially those teaching in border regions. Teachers must begin to view themselves as agents of change and as facilitators of learning.

This case study takes place in two high school settings that are in the same district and are located roughly 10 minutes from the US Mexico border. The aim of this qualitative case study is to examine what literacy pedagogy looks like in the secondary English Language Arts classroom. Classrooms selected include: an English 4 Advanced Placement (AP) course, a regular English 4 course, and an End-of-Course English remediation course. This study explores how three, veteran secondary ELA teachers enact literacy in their classroom and how their understandings of literacy and their students are reflected. This study also closely examines how each teacher asserts their agency when faced with high stakes test accountability.

The findings revealed four major themes, which include the following: 1) the importance of teacher-student relationships to foster cultural awareness and choice; 2) the evolution of the role of teachers through ongoing self-reflection; 3) the importance of engaging students in purposeful modes of assessment; and 4) the role of professional development for teacher agency today.


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