Dual language learners in Head Start: examining teaching strategies that promote English language development
There were dual purposes of this exploratory, case study. The first purpose was to investigate and describe the teaching strategies of six Head Start teachers within one program in Oregon whose dual language learners had shown gains of at least three levels in receptive and expressive English language development, as determined by their assessment ratings in Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System. The second purpose was to identify what, if any, professional development strategies and resources have been beneficial to those teachers in promoting English language development for children who are dual language learners. This qualitative study utilized three data collection methods: interviews, observations and review of artifacts. The one-on-one interviews with the purposive sample of teachers occurred during the first phase. The interview questions were designed to learn about teaching strategies utilized by Head Start teachers to promote English language development for children who are dual language learners as well as teachers' relevant professional development resources and opportunities. During the second phase of the study, the Classroom Assessment of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA) instrument was used to conduct classroom observations in each of the six teachers' classrooms. Furthermore, a review of relevant artifacts was conducted during the observations. Seven conclusions emerged from the study. First, home language support in the classrooms contributed to English language development. Second, teachers' use of pictures, gestures and other visual cues promoted children's comprehension of English. Third, culturally responsive curriculum was not necessary for promoting enhanced language outcomes. Fourth, a supportive social/emotional environment in the classroom contributed to progress in expressive language development. Next, singing songs with gestures and high quality teachers' talk in English also contributed to expressive language development. Lastly, professional development, formal and informal, is beneficial and needed for preschool teachers. Five recommendations emerged from the study. Policy recommendations are for college teacher preparation programs to require coursework pertaining to dual language learning and for programs to actively recruit bilingual teachers. Practice recommendations are for programs to implement a Planned Language Approach, set up peer mentoring and training opportunities, and for teachers to plan individual and small group read alouds.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Bilingualism in children; English language -- Study and teaching (Elementary); Teaching -- Methodology; Head Start Program (U.S.)
Date of Award
Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Hendricks, Dawn, "Dual language learners in Head Start: examining teaching strategies that promote English language development" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 504.