Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Oprandy

First Committee Member

Delores E. McNair

Second Committee Member

Marilyn E. Draheim

Abstract

In Shanghai, an increasing number of parents believe that learning English at an early age will bring their children an advantage in future competition. As a result, kindergarten English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes have become popular in recent years. Although previous studies revealed that picture books are frequently used as teaching materials in kindergarten EFL classes, what is happening in these kindergarten EFL classes and the ways teachers use picture books to teach children English still remain largely unknown. To have a better understanding of the kindergarten EFL classes in Shanghai, this study aimed to explore kindergarten EFL teachers’ perspectives on and usage of picture books in their classes, as well as the challenges they face.

Four experienced kindergarten EFL teachers selected by a criteria survey were invited to participate in this qualitative study. Data were collected from them by interviews, classroom observations and documents. Results showed that participants believed that picture books have linguistic, cognitive and cultural awareness values. Findings of this study also revealed the ways participants use picture books to teach children English and the challenges they faced.

Findings of this study were discussed in connection with previous studies of picture books, Krashen’s language acquisition hypotheses, and Five Big Ideas on how children learn to read. This study also led to suggestions for further implications based on the findings of teachers’ reported challenges. Teachers faced great challenges in developing EFL classes, on self-development, and on building relationships with parents. To work on solutions to these problems and improve the quality of kindergarten EFL classes in Shanghai, it was determined that both the Chinese government and kindergartens or language training institutions should make efforts to support teachers. Shanghai’s kindergarten EFL classes are the product of market choices and are still in their beginning phase of development. As such, they need the support from those in all walks of life to better develop in the future.

Pages

161

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