Samway, Katharine Davies

Samway, Katharine Davies

Date Updated



Department of Elementary Education/Teacher Education

Academic Rank

Professor Emerita

Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Rochester, Ph.D. 1987

State University of New York, Brockport, MS. 1978

Nottingham College of Education, England (now Trent University), Certificate of Education. 1967

Dissertation Title

The Writing Processes of Non-Native English Speaking Children in the Elementary Grades

Teaching Experience

2011 to present—Professor Emerita, San José State University

1991 to 2011—Professor, Department of Elementary Education/Teacher Education, San José State University

At SJSU, I taught courses focused on reading/language arts, writing, ongoing/formative assessment, qualitative research methods, multicultural children’s/young adult literature, and second language acquisition and learning. I also advised MA students as they worked on their research projects. In addition, I taught and supervised students in the MA and Reading Specialist programs, as well as in the K-8 Teaching Credential program.

I was also an elementary and ESOL teacher in England, Peru, and the United States.

Administrative and Professional Experience

1987 to 1991—Language and Literacy Specialist, ARC (Arts, Research and Curriculum), Oakland, California.

1984 to 1987—Teaching Assistant, University of Rochester, New York.

1980 to 1984—Associate, New York State Education Department, Bureau of Bilingual Education.

1976 to 1980—Curriculum Specialist, Brockport Migrant Education Program, State University of New York.

Selected Professional Activities

  • At SJSU:
    • Coordinator, MA and Reading Specialist Programs, Department of Elementary Education
    • Initiated the MA Research Colloquium, Department of Elementary Education, and located funds for the Outstanding Research Project Award
    • Developer of and Instructor for Academic Writing Workshop for struggling writers at the university
    • Editor (with K. Karathanos, D. D. Mena, & D.A. Whitenack). (2009). English Learners in Higher Education: Strategies for Supporting Students Across Academic Disciplines.
    • Co-founded and co-directed Bay Area Teacher Educators (BATE), a professional development organization for teacher educators that received financial support from the Noyce Foundation.
  • Research:
    • Co-Project Investigator, The Role of Talk in Unit of Study Writing Workshops With an Emphasis on English Learners—funded by the Spencer Foundation. (2014-2017).
    • Tibet Oral History Project (TOHP)—interviewed Tibetan elders living in exile in Nepal. (2015).
    • Co-Principal Investigator, Elementary Teachers of English Language Learners Negotiating the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)—funded by two Spencer Foundation grants. (2013-2014)
    • Co-Principal Investigator, Vocabulary Innovations in Education (VINE)—funded by a federal research grant. (2006-2010).
    • Co-Principal Investigator, The Impact of the Open Court Language Arts Textbook Series on the Beliefs and Practices of Classroom Teachers—funded by a University of California Language Minority Research Institute Collaborative Research Award. (2005-2007).


Professional Organizations and NGOs/Not-for-Profits:
I have been active in several professional organizations and NGOs/Not-For-Profits, including the following:

TESOL International (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages):

  • Chair, Elementary Special Interest group
  • Associate Editor, TESOL Journal
  • Nominating Committee member
  • Reviewer of manuscripts

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE):

  • ESL Assembly board member
  • NCTE/TESOL Liaison Committee member
  • Reviewer of manuscripts

California Reading/Literature Project:

  • Policy board member and CATESOL representative

American Educational Research Association (AERA):

  • Reviewer of proposals

National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE):

  • Reviewer of manuscripts

Tibet Oral History Project:

  • Board member and secretary

Northern California Friends of Sabeel (NorCal FOS):

  • Executive board member and steering committee member

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)

Reporting for News Outlets:

Since 2016, I have been a correspondent with Oakland Voices. I have also published stories on other news sites. What follows is a sample of my stories:

Selected Publications

I have published many articles, presented at multiple professional conferences, and edited several books on the following two interconnected themes: a) the literacy development of children from diverse backgrounds, especially English learners (ELs), and b) influences on teachers' beliefs and practices. I have also written the following books:

  • Samway, K. Davies, Pease-Alvarez, L., & Alvarez, L. (2020). Supporting Newcomer Students: Effective Advocacy and Instruction for English Learners. New York: W.W. Norton and TESOL Press.
  • Pease-Alvarez, L., & Samway, K. Davies. (2012). Teachers of English Learners Negotiating Authoritarian Policies. New York: Springer.
  • Samway, K. Davies & Taylor, D. (2008). Teaching English Language Learners, Grades 6 and Up: Strategies that Work. New York: Scholastic.
  • Samway, K. Davies, & Taylor, D. (2007). Teaching English Language Learners, Grades K-5: Strategies that Work. New York: Scholastic.
  • Samway, K. Davies, & McKeon, D. (2007). Myths and Realities: Best Practices for English Language Learners. 2nd Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Samway, K. Davies. (2006). When English Language Learners Write: Connecting Research and Practice. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Samway, K. Davies, & McKeon, D. (1999). Myths and Realities: Best Practices for Language Minority Students. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Samway, K. Davies & Whang, G. (1996). Literature Study Circles in a Multicultural Classroom. York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Samway, K. Davies, Whang, G. & Pippitt, M. (1995). Buddy Reading: Cross-Age Tutoring in a Multicultural School. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Samway, K. Davies. (1992). Writers' Workshop and Children Acquiring English as a Non-Native Language. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.

Personal Commentary

Unlike some people who are thinking of retiring and are not sure how they will spend their retirement years, I felt very fortunate that I knew what I wanted to do: continue to work with children and teachers, continue doing research, and continue writing, but expand the writing to writing for children and young adults. I also wanted to be able to spend more time on being a peace and justice activist. Fortunately, I have been able to do all of these things and have grown enormously through them. Writing is something that I find very satisfying—I think that writing is a bit like a puzzle and when it goes well, the feeling is similar to figuring out a puzzle.


Samway, Katharine Davies