Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Stergios Botzakis

Committee Members

Anne McGill-Frazen, Lauren Moret, Stewart Waters


This study examines the experiences of teachers in rural, Appalachian classrooms who use film as a text. Film, in this study, was both an ensemble to be used for classroom viewing purposes and a creative writing opportunity for composition. The researcher drew on the methodology of hermeneutic phenomenology, drawing on the work of Merleau-Ponty, in constructing this work. In all, five teachers shared their thinking about how to use film most effectively with reading and writing tasks. These teachers shared a wide range of practices within the structure of their classrooms, and noted their own engagement with film. Popular films, short clips, educational videos, and teacher- and student-created projects were all considered, among other visual practices. Data collection involved an interview at the beginning of the research cycle, followed by teacher audio-recorded and/or written logs, collection of supplemental teaching documents, and a final interview. This dissertation explores four major themes that resulted from the research process, as well as providing an introduction to frame the conversation, a review of the literature to demonstrate what has already been done with film in reading and writing in specific content areas, and notes on implications for current practice, policy, and research drawn from the study.

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