Ph.D. in Education, 2013
School of Education
March 1, 2009
Ph.D. Student Researches Academic Language, Adolescent Self-Perception, and Motivation to Write
Andrea Cons earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Eastern Washington University, then moved to Long Beach and began her career as a high school English teacher. She taught both ninth and tenth grade Language Arts for seven years and was Chairperson of the English department during her final two years of teaching. During this time, she earned her Master’s degree in English, specializing in Twentieth Century American Literature, from California State University, Long Beach. It was this experience that interested Andrea in pursuing a Ph.D. in Education.
Andrea currently is a member of the inaugural Ph.D. in Education cohort at the University of California, Irvine, in the Language, Literacy, and Technology specialization. Her research interests include academic language and writing (vocabulary development, syntax, and other linguistic features); adolescent motivation to write; multi-literacies; twenty-first century literacy skills, English language learning; the achievement gap between English language learners and native speakers of English; discourse analysis; linguistics; and teacher education.
Andrea’s first year research project examined the impact of Theater of Translation, an intervention developed by UC Irvine Professors Rossella Santagata and Joseph Jenkins that focused on improving students’ perceptions of themselves as writers of Academic English. Her first year paper on this project has been accepted to this year’s UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute conference in May. Her second year research study is expanding on her first year project to examine how students use academic vocabulary in informal and formal narratives.
Andrea’s research, with the guidance and encouragement of her advisor Robin Scarcella, Director of the Academic English Program, School of Humanities, focuses on student writing in the Secondary English Language Arts classroom, self-efficacy beliefs regarding academic writing, and student motivation to write. Her future research will focus on the above-mentioned areas as well as on the role of creative writing in the English Language Arts classroom and how such writing can encourage and improve student motivation to engage in academic writing across content areas.
Upon completing her Ph.D., Andrea plans on becoming a university professor in a teacher education program. She hopes to prepare future secondary teachers of English to teach not only content specific knowledge, but also the academic literacy skills required of students in higher education.