Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Middle and Secondary Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Norton-Meier, Lori

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Whitmore, Kathryn

Committee Member

Whitmore, Kathryn

Committee Member

Thomas, Mary Shelley

Committee Member

Chisholm, James

Author's Keywords

multimodality; English language learners; visual art


Traditional literacy education in the U.S. relies exclusively on language-based models. This can be particularly challenging for English language learners, who often find themselves bound by the constraints of the English language and limited in their expressions of thought and emotion. Current research on English language teaching, largely targeted towards native English-speaking students, suggests that incorporating various alternate modes of communication and representation improves literacy learning. Studies that address English language learning for non-native speakers are sparse. The purpose of this arts-based, qualitative, descriptive study is to fill this gap in the literature. Using collage making as a communicative mode, I conducted pre- and post-project, semi-structured, ethnographic interviews with students and teachers. I used control-value theory to explore student artwork, and to analyze student emotion about collage making. Study results showed that collage was successful as a communicative mode in an English as a second language (ESL) classroom. Through collage, English language learners were able to express creativity, emotion, and language and to share stories. The collages were instrumental in the students’ achievements, class participation, and feelings of self-satisfaction.