Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Tom Bean

Number of Pages



There were two main purposes for this research and one parallel purpose. One main purpose was to investigate how learners of English in an EFL/ESL context, who were also teachers of English and/or learning to be teachers of English, perceived and responded to different types of graphic organizers and associated activities. These graphic organizers and activities were presented at a university in Northern Thailand through an advanced reading comprehension course for preservice and inservice teachers taught by the primary researcher. The second main purpose was to explore, synthesize, and apply theories of mediated activity and research methods originating from or related to the work of the famous Russian troika of Vygotsky, Leont'ev, and Luria. The parallel purpose was to provide the participants with an insider's perspective on qualitative case-study research that investigated their interactions and learning/teaching contexts. Participants in this study were nine MATEFL (Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching English as a Foreign Language) students from China, the Netherlands, Turkey, the U.S., and Thailand. The overall research design was an interpretive, ethnographic case study. Within this research design principles of Vygotsky's developmental method were used (i.e., genetic method). Data collected included interviews, ethnographic fieldnotes of the participants' use of graphic organizers in their teaching contexts, graphic organizers generated by the participants, and video and audio data of classroom interactions; The results were divided into three sections. Principles of Vygotsky's developmental approach were primarily used for the first two sections. These microgenetic analyses revealed the intersubjective and interwoven nature of gesture and graphic representations as these were used to mediate content knowledge. The third section of the Results provided a broader view of the nine participants' engagement with graphic organizers. Participants were found to have distinctive styles and preferences for different graphic organizers. Distinctive styles and preferences were related to the participants' communities of teaching and learning practice. Findings have implications for learning English as a second or foreign language, literacy, teacher education, multicultural and cross-cultural education, and non-verbal speech. Moreover, the research design and theoretical lens were presented as appropriate for investigating language and literacy contexts.


Activities; Case; English As A Second Language; Ethnographic; Graphic; Graphic Organizers; Language; Learners; Language; Learners; Organizers; Positioning; Study

Controlled Subject

Language arts; Language and languages; Educational psychology

File Format


File Size

13701.12 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have the full text removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.