Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Jeanne Dyches

Second Advisor

Anne Foegen


During the past decade, literacy education has shifted from generalized reading strategies to instruction that pays particular attention to the ways in which members of disciplinary communities navigate and produce texts. While research around disciplinary literacy (DL) has increased within the past ten years, it is often isolated from critical literacy (CL) scholarship. Borrowing from Moje’s (2015) 4Es teaching heuristic and Stevens and Beans’ (2007) CL tenets, this collective case study examines how three secondary ELA teachers implement critical disciplinary literacies (CDL) (Dyches, 2018a; 2018b; 2018 under review). Data sources include lesson plans, observations, and interviews and coalesce in the telling of three dedicated ELA teachers; Ms. Dickens, a first-year teacher who uses her expertise in British literature to critically examine texts in her Western World Literature course; Ms. Austen, a second-year sixth-grade teacher who used explicit strategy instruction to support disciplinary literacies, and Ms. Shelley, a teacher with eleven years of experience who used CDL to connect with her students while preparing them for their advanced placement (AP) examination. For each case, data were deductively coded for 12 a priori codes of DL, CL, and CDL to determine how teachers’ practices simultaneously infuse literacies that invite students to navigate and critique disciplinary knowledge. Data were then inductively coded to understand the factors that promoted and inhibited their CDL instruction. Findings reveal that these ELA teachers succeeded in incorporating some tenets but were challenged when the tenets required agency, like traversing cycles of deconstruction and reconstruction and promoting social justice. Implications include practical ways in which English Education and Literacy Education departments can support teachers in establishing a CDL stance, explicitly teaching CDL strategies, and promoting CDL-specific agency as members of a disciplinary community.

Copyright Owner

Wendy A Barlow



File Format


File Size

295 pages

Included in

Education Commons