Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Early Childhood Education

Committee Director

Angela L. Eckhoff

Committee Member

Peter B. Baker

Committee Member

KaaVonia Johnson

Committee Member

Shana L. Pribesh


This study examined preschool teachers' implementation of culturally and linguistically responsive strategies using children's literature in an urban multicultural preschool. Through a qualitative phenomenological design, this research aimed to expand understandings of language dialect and achievement in early childhood education and examine preschool teachers' knowledge, beliefs, and instructional practices regarding identified home languages—African American Vernacular English and Hispanic American English, Academic Language, and code switching. The phenomenon under investigation was early childhood professionals' beliefs and frequency of home language dialect use within the classroom and implementation of culturally and linguistically responsive strategies within the classrooms of an urban multicultural preschool before and after receiving targeted professional development using children's books. The participants in this study included five preschool teachers and one preschool center director within the same private preschool center located in an urban city within the southeastern region of the United States. Semi-structured pre- and post-interviews, classroom observations using descriptive and reflective field notes, and targeted professional development sessions were conducted in order to capture the essence of the phenomenon within this preschool setting and to develop textural descriptions of the participants' engagement and experiences within the study. The investigation revealed that knowledge of home language features, academic language and code switching, the use of home language features and code switching, teacher perspectives regarding culturally and linguistically responsive instruction, and cultural and linguistic influence of parents and teachers are key factors in the frequency and nature of the implementation of culturally and linguistically responsive strategies within the multicultural preschool. Further, as teachers' language dialect knowledge of home language, academic language, and code switching increased, the nature of instructional practices shifted to an affirmative and validating perspective from an initial deficit/ non-affirmative perspective at the outset of the study. Implications for research and practice indicate the need to consider teachers' foundational cultural and linguistic knowledge of the children in their classrooms when teachers are tasked with implementing culturally and linguistically diverse instructional practices.