Author(s)

Kerry Rizzuto

Date Approved

11-15-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Wassell, Beth

Subject(s)

English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers;Teacher-student relationships;Culturally relevant pedagogy

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The purpose of this parallel mixed-methodology study was to examine, through a critical lens, how the perceptions of early childhood teachers towards their early childhood English Language learners (ELLs) govern their pedagogical practices. The study was conducted in ten (N = 10) early childhood classrooms, ranging from grades pre-K to third grades, in one suburban school with a culturally and linguistically diverse student population. Quantitative data was gathered through the administration of Pohan and Aguilar's (2001) Professional beliefs about diversity 5-point Likert scale. Additionally, qualitative data was collected through interviews, classroom observations, and material artifacts. The same sample of participants (N = 10) was used for both sources of data collection. Results indicated that the majority of teacher participants held negative perceptions towards the ELL pupils in their classrooms as well as demonstrated a lack of understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy and theories of second language acquisition. Implications for in-service teacher professional development in order to cultivate understandings of the theories of second language acquisition and culturally responsive pedagogy are discussed.

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