Kerry Rizzuto

Date Approved


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Wassell, Beth


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


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


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.