Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Early Childhood Education

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jane Broderick

Committee Members

Pamela Evanshen, Natalia Ward, Ana Christina da Silva Iddings


This qualitative study, grounded in a phenomenological perspective, delves into the lived experiences of early childhood teachers who teach multilingual children in mainstream classrooms in Tennessee. Amidst the rising number of multilingual learners in mainstream educational settings and the dearth of adequate teacher training to address their needs, this research illuminates the experiences of these teachers. Furthermore, it seeks to advocate for the integration of translanguaging pedagogy into teacher training programs and state policies. This study employed a qualitative study using the three-in-depth-interview series from a phenomenological perspective (Seidman, 2019). The first interview focused on participants’ overall teaching experiences and classroom dynamics, while the second delved into their specific experiences with multilingual children. The final interview facilitated reflections on the preceding interviews and the participants’ reflections on the research process. Additionally, participants engaged in reflexivity by reviewing interview transcripts and adding comments. The study encompassed three kindergarten and three first-grade teachers in public schools in Tennessee. Data collection included in-depth interviews, screener and demographic questionnaires, and transcript comments. Key findings highlighted the high number of multilingual learners in mainstream classrooms, constraints stemming from scripted curricula, teachers’ assimilationist perspective on culture and monoglossic view on language; however, they demonstrated some positive views toward multilingual learners. Regarding the research process, both participants and the researcher expressed positive views. Ultimately, this study advocates for state policies to embrace a translanguaging approach to foster equitable environments for multilingual children so that they can use and develop their full linguistic repertoire. It also recommends the incorporation of translanguaging pedagogy and critical reflection in teacher training programs. Finally, it highlights the potential of research as a means for reflection, learning, and professional growth.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.