A qualitative case study : an in-service pre kindergarten teacher's perceptions and teaching experience with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families

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Lee, Hyun Ju

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This study explores a teacher’s perceptions and teaching practice with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families. A qualitative case study, it follows one in-service pre-kindergarten teacher at a public school. To provide rationales of the study, the researcher adopt culturally responsive teaching, funds of knowledge, developmentally appropriate practice, anti-bias multicultural education and English as a second language learning theories as the conceptual framework. Data were collected through formal interviews, informal conversations, and observations and analyzed using the constant-comparative method. The findings display the results of the study in three aspects: creating a cohesive multicultural community, helping culturally and linguistically diverse children’s English development utilizing their home languages and cultures, and establishing reciprocal relationships with those families. The study finds that a cohesive multicultural community can be created by building caring relationships among community members, by reflecting the children’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds in teaching practice and by practicing anti-bias multicultural education. This study shows the ways of helping the children’s English development according to five themes: understanding the children’s different English abilities, creating a class environment reflecting the children’s home languages and cultures, matching language mates, collaborating with bilingual teachers, and utilizing children as the language experts. This study also finds that reciprocal relationships with culturally and linguistically diverse families can be established by understanding diverse families’ backgrounds, by increasing cross-cultural communications, and by utilizing family resources in her teaching practice. This study reveals that the children’s learning experience can be enhanced when integrating their cultural and linguistic knowledge into class learning. The presented examples and descriptions in this study demonstrates the explicit and practical ways of how teachers can cultivate the children’s cultural and linguistic knowledge base, reflect this knowledge base in their class learning, help the children’s English development, and establish reciprocal relationships with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Thus, this study will be a source of detailed practical information for teachers, teachers’ educators, and educational administrators in early childhood education.



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