Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Kieff, Judith

Second Advisor

Bedford, April

Third Advisor

Casbergue, Renee

Fourth Advisor

Barnitz, John


The language children bring to the classroom (home language) is often different from the language that is expected or accepted in schools. These language differences are often met with a variety of reactions from teachers. The purpose of this research is threefold: (a) to apply a narrative inquiry design to explore how teachers respond to the language that children bring (home language) to the early childhood classroom and the effects this response has on their work with children; (b) to engage in research efforts that will explore how differences in language may affect or be affected by pedagogy, curriculum development, and teachers' expectations; (c) to understand how teachers feel about their preparation and capacity to address the issue of language diversity. The 4 participants in this study are either current or former teachers of children between the ages of 4 to 8 years. Through the use of narrative inquiry, I have acquired stories from each of the 4 participants. The stories provide insight into these teachers' perceptions of children's language in the classroom. The stories also open discussions on language diversity and the role it plays in early childhood education classrooms as well as how prepared teachers are to deal with language differences. With this study I hope to contribute to the research that focuses on language and language diversity in early childhood education. I would also hope to prompt further research on issues such as teachers' approaches to children's language differences within the classroom, the affects of different approaches to language diversity on pedagogy and curriculum, and finally on culturally sensitive pedagogy.


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