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Date of Award

Fall 2018


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

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




This double case study of language learners and teachers examines literacy events as described in subjects’ journals. In TESOL, a case typically “refers to a person, either a learner or a teacher” (, 2018), and in this thesis one case was a group of four English Language Institute Level 5 Reading, Writing, and Grammar students. Three of the four were Saudi—two males and one female, and the fourth was a Russian female. The other case included eight graduate students in an MATESL seminar, Modern Language Methods, and all eight had teaching experience ranging from three months to ten years. These teachers in training included two Saudis—one male and one female, five American females, and one Chinese female. Both cases were convenience samples since the first case was collected in the language institute where the primary investigator/thesis writer was teaching at the time, and the second case was collected in the thesis adviser’s graduate seminar. Findings suggest that nearly all subjects knew someone who was illiterate and had developed compensatory strategies, which are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. The present study also includes a review of literature about feminist rhetorical theory as it applies to the literacy narratives of women and the material conditions of their lives. Chapter 5 is a sampling of multimodal materials created by the author to demonstrate ways to incorporate similar materials in English classes around the world. She focuses her instruction on the literacy events described by Byron Pitts, newscaster, who was illiterate through the fifth grade in public schools where he was put in a boiler room with other “basement boys” who could not function in regular classrooms. Having viewed the short interview with Pitts, subjects wrote about a person they knew who was illiterate, and that is the focus of the data collected and analyzed in this thesis project.