Teaching English in Thailand with Oral Histories from Rural Northeast Texas

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Literature and Languages

Date of Award

Fall 2013


This project offers a theoretical framework and practical tools for teaching English to non-native speakers. Drawing together key scholarship in literacy studies and second language acquisition, the current study insists throughout on the crucial role played by 'authentic context' in learning English language and communication. Current scholarship in literacy studies is in almost complete agreement on this fact as it concerns learning to read and write in one's native language. Similarly, current scholarship in second language acquisition studies is remarkably consistent on this point as it concerns non-native speakers learning to read and write in an unfamiliar language. Even so, very little published scholarship combines what we know about the role played by authentic context in language and literacy development with practical tools for engaging what I call 'vertical dimensions.' The current study attempts to do just that. I begin with an extended study of language use in 'authentic contexts' (Cennamo, 63; Kramsch, 177; Mishan, 67; Ndon, 359; and Sherman 14). I then offer a digital tool for replicating 'authentic' contexts in virtual space: a video-based prototype developed from oral history interviews given by rural African American Texans for other purposes. The project is designed to teach English to non-native speakers who have little meaningful access to native English speakers and the authentic contexts in which English speakers communicate. The project suggests various roles digital media can play in language learning. It expands opportunities for language instruction in authentic contexts by making effective use of digital archives.


Shannon Carter

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature