Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood Education and Care

First Advisor

Lianna Pizzo

Second Advisor

Christine Leider

Third Advisor

Mona Abo-Zena


Existing research has suggested that multilingualism is an asset in many regards (e.g., cognitively, socially, culturally), yet many U.S. schools have created linguistically exclusive environments for multilingual learners (MLLs) by prioritizing/centering English language instruction and perpetuating deficit views of multilingualism for students who are not proficient in English as their first language. Multilingual teachers have assets/resources as multilinguals that can contribute to creating a classroom where their MLLs can thrive, but the teacher pipeline has not been effective in preparing, hiring, and retaining multilingual teachers in schools. The purpose of this study is to learn about the experience of being multilingual and how teachers who are multilingual perceive these experiences as connecting to/driving their work with MLLs. This qualitative research study used a post-intentional phenomenological research design (Vagle, 2019) to center the voices and experiences of multilingual teachers both as multilinguals and as teachers of MLLs. The participants included four multilingual Kindergarten teachers working in public schools in the state of Massachusetts. The findings suggest that the experience of being a ML teacher of MLLs involves navigating systems of power and control, self-actualization, demoralization, and training and support needs. Implications for early childhood teacher preparation, state leadership, and district and school leadership are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.


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