Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language



First Advisor

Dr. LaVona Reeves

Second Advisor

Dr. Logan Greene

Third Advisor

Prof. Mary Parker


This thesis is the culmination of two years of working with and teaching English composition to primarily international students from Saudi Arabia whose first language is not English. For the purposes of this study, I will identify students whose first language is not English as English Language Learners (ELLs). I have decided to use this term because in many cases, English is not a student’s second language but their third or fourth. The research for this study uses a mixed methods and action research framework and was conducted in my English 101-SL (Second Language) class during the Winter of 2014 at Eastern Washington University (EWU). However, reflections from my time teaching English composition both before and after the Winter Quarter 2014 are also included along with sample activities, study guides, and writing prompts. The study focuses on the Essay Exam unit of the English 101 curriculum and my efforts at teaching academic reading and writing. As this research uses a theoretical framework of constructivist grounded theory, it addresses the researcher/instructor in the first person and includes student voices in the form of journals, questionnaire responses, and sample essays. Three sets of journal responses are included within these pages and will largely be allowed to speak for themselves with minimal analysis on my part. In the tradition of critical ethnography, this allows for the student participants and researcher to be co-constructors of meaning and, in part, co-creators of this thesis.