Download the full-sized PDF of At the edge of reason: Three language and literacy educators' classroom experiences teaching born-digital studentsDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

At the edge of reason: Three language and literacy educators' classroom experiences teaching born-digital students Open Access


Other title
English language arts, new literacies, critical literacy, born-digital, text, classrooms
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nahachewsky, James
Supervisor and department
McClay, Jill Kedersha (Elementary Education)
Johnston, Ingrid (Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Knobel, Michele (Montclair State University)
Adams, Catherine (Secondary Education)
Iveson, Margaret (Secondary Education)
Mackey, Margaret (School of Library and Information Studies)
Department of Secondary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Contemporary English language arts (ELA) teachers engage students who have been born into a digital world where emergent literacies challenge the traditionally authoritative perspectives and physical boundaries of books and classrooms. This qualitative case study inquired into the classroom experiences of three senior English language arts teachers located in two western Canadian provinces in our digital-based communications age. Analyzed through a cultural studies lens, this inquiry’s data were collected through the methodological triangulation of classroom observation, semi-structured interview, and online journal responses. The study’s findings reveal the significance of the three selected teachers’ textual stances and pedagogy to their students’ new literacies in this time of epochal communications and cultural change. A broadening horizon of textual choice and compositional possibilities complicated each of the three teachers’ classroom practice in a subject area whose content, traditionally, relies upon reading and responding to print-based canonical texts. Each of these teachers was working In medias res to understand which texts and textual practices should be held on to, and which could be relinquished for the benefit of their students’ language learning. A major concern that emerged for each of these three educators was a perceived loss of deep critical readings by their students. This concern was counter-balanced for the subject area specialists by an emergent understanding of the affordances of a broadening set of texts and textual practices – a developing awareness that students’ critical literacies can emerge in a rhizomal manner, and that teachers and students can co-author their literacy experiences within the (con)text of the ELA classroom. For these three participants, teaching ELA has become an ‘ellipsis’ in a digital-based age where certain previously privileged texts and a sense of authority need to be relinquished in order to achieve the co-constructed understanding of word and world so valued by these educators and their students.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 737463
Last modified: 2015:10:12 15:01:12-06:00
Filename: Nahachewsky_James_Fall2010.pdf
Original checksum: 0dabc87f0753f4024ec043f97107195f
Well formed: true
Valid: true
File title: Microsoft Word - nahachewskydissertation
File author: jnahache
Page count: 276
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date