Title page for ETD etd-12132009-104629

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Smith, Kathy Ellen
URN etd-12132009-104629
Title From the Killing Fields to a Field of Hope: The Portrait of a Teacherís Dream
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary Committee Chair
MacGregor, S. Kim Committee Member
Veldman, Meredith Committee Member
Wandersee, James Committee Member
Beggs, John J. Dean's Representative
  • Alternative literacies
  • Bronfennbrenner
  • I Poetry
  • Gender
  • Listening Guide
  • Pedagogy
  • Library
Date of Defense 2009-11-09
Availability unrestricted
Few qualitative studies have been done in Cambodia, a country held hostage by the murderous Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Still struggling to recover from these atrocities, Cambodia looks to education to aid in its redevelopment.

This ethnographically-informed case study describes the professional literacy life of a female Cambodian primary school teacher in the post Pol Pot era. This study describes this womanís professional and personal life as she strives to build literacy in a small village. Her work is considered in the context of her colleagues and village. Additionally, the research portrays forces that impact literacy development, ways in which literacy is exhibited in this village, juxtaposing one Cambodian teacherís literacy practice with the community literacies that surround her.

Using both Paulo Freireís work and a feminist lens as suggested by Sara Lawrence- Lightfoot, field work was conducted in Cambodia using a variety of data sources: observations, interviews, a focus group, casual conversations, and document analysis. Analyzing these data using the Portraiture Approach resulted in a complex picture of this teacherís professional life within the village and school and of ways literacy is shared in rural areas of the developing country.

Findings from this case study reveal a rich foundation on which to build literacy within Cambodian while also addressing the needs voiced by this participant teacher and her fellow rural teachers. Based on this research, specific recommendations are suggested to Cambodian officials seeking to develop a literate nation and other recommendations are made for those United States agencies and nongovernmental organizations interested in assisting Cambodian teachers and schools.

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