Author Identifiers

Nadezhda Chubko
ORCID: 0000-0002-4090-0535

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr Julia Morris

Second Advisor

Adjunct Professor David McKinnon

Third Advisor

Associate Professor Geoffrey Lummis

Fourth Advisor

Dr Eileen Slater


This research explored the impact of a digital storytelling (DST) video-making intervention in an astronomy course (STEM-A) on EFL students’ STEM-A disciplinary literacy acquisition in English. The research was motivated by the increased significance of English as an international language of STEM instruction and addressed the transition between discourses encountered by students learning STEM in a foreign language.

The study was designed and implemented as a mixed methods four-cycle action research with multiple Case Study, multiple-probe quasi-experimental design. In the first cycle, the researcher transitioned from a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to a teacher of astronomy in English in a non-English speaking country and developed the STEM-A course. In cycle two, the STEM-A course was piloted and refined based on the learning outcomes of non-native English speakers (EFL) and an analysis of the interactive patterns amongst students who completed the course. In cycle three, the course sequence was further refined to support development of disciplinary literacy for EFL students. In the fourth and final cycle, the most profound course sequence was implemented in a different school context to explore transferability and the potential for the course to support learning in a community of practice.

Cycle one was documented after the researcher reflected on her observations of the participants, based on analysis of the video recordings of lessons and the course programs designed for the study. In cycles two, three and four, data were collected from written responses to pre- and post-Astronomy Diagnostic Tests (ADT), coded against SOLO taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982), and analysed using repeated measures ANOVA. Discourse analysis was used to identify communicative functions used by students in the course to qualitatively analyse their growth in disciplinary literacy.

Overall, this research contributed to the body of knowledge on integrating technology in STEM education by exemplifying the process of STEM-A course design and refinement. The results indicated a positive effect of the DST intervention on EFL students’ STEM-A disciplinary literacy acquisition in English. Additionally, the study revealed classroom interaction patterns that enhanced EFL students’ disciplinary literacy development, as the DST teaching approach established a collaborative learning environment that led to shared knowledge construction and students’ engagement in authentic learning inquiry. This approach allowed to bridge the gap between EFL and non- EFL students’ disciplinary literacy in STEM subjects.


Paper Location