Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Brantley, Diane


Poverty is known to affect many areas of life for poor children, particularly young children’s language development. To address language development issues as well as other educational needs, the Head Start Program was created. The purpose of this sequential mixed-methods study was to describe the professional development experiences of Head Start teachers on language modeling. In addition, this study sought to explore teachers’ views on language modeling and the activities they find most effective to support student learning.

Analysis of the data revealed that teachers wanted more training and workshops, to be paired with a mentor/coach, pay raises for achieving higher education, strategies for working with children, and encouragement from administration to effectively achieve their professional development plans and goals. Additionally, teachers demonstrated an understanding of the importance of language modeling for children to build vocabulary, to improve school readiness goals, and to communicate and express their needs. Finally, teachers felt very strongly that they use frequent conversations, wait for student responses during conversations, use back and forth conversations, encourage peer conversations, use more than one word as well as a variety of words to support children’s language development.

Findings from this study may be utilized to provide the necessary support teachers need to improve their language modeling skills and to help programs in their planning and evaluation of an ongoing professional development model. This study adds to the literature on bridging the gap between learning about practices and using them in the classroom to improve children’s language development by including teacher voices into their professional development and how to effectively implement coaching practices to promote teacher knowledge and skills.