Investigating Head Start Teachers' Beliefs about Language and Literacy Practices for English Language Learners (ELLs)




Orner Young, Wendy L.

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A changing classroom population and lack of English as a Second Language or bilingual instruction at the preschool level has required Head Start teachers to teach English language and literacy skills to English Language Learners (ELLs). The purpose of this dissertation was to develop and validate a new scale to measure preschool teachers' beliefs about language and literacy practices for ELLs. The scale was administered to teachers (n=78) and teacher assistants (n=23) at a state Head Start Association Conference. An exploratory factor analysis found three factors, accounting for 44.6% of the scale's total variance. The factors underlying teachers' beliefs about language and literacy practices for ELLs are classroom curriculum and instructional practices, home language and culture, and early literacy strategies. Significant differences in the language and literacy belief scores were found when examining teachers' and teacher assistants' responses. Additional data analysis indicated that the Preschool Teachers' Language and Literacy Beliefs (PTTLB) scale is a valid and reliable instrument for use with classroom teachers. Implications for the use of the PTTLB in professional development are discussed.



Early childhood education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Reading instruction, English Language Learners, Head Start, Language and Literacy, Teachers' Beliefs