Document Type



Doctor of Education


Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Virginia Navarro, PhD.


Joseph L. Polman, Ph.D.

Kim Song, Ph.D.

Wolfgang Althof, Ph.D.

Jackie Lewis-Harris, Ph.D.


Abstract This research created, implemented and evaluated the impact of a language unit designed to increase linguistic knowledge and change attitudes toward linguistic diversity for pre-service teachers taking an education class that focused on child and adolescent development at an urban university in Missouri. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to document learning and attitude change toward linguistic variety during 4-8 hours of instruction. The language unit included a pretest/posttest design, an overview of general linguistics, phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and bilingualism; the unit utilized multiple digital tools (DVD & CD) created by the researcher. Demographic correlates to change patterns were also analyzed. Instructor/student texts generated through on-line discussion board (DB) forums were examined for emergent themes using Discourse Analysis, specifically Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) (Halliday, 1975). The language unit was administered in three university classes. As a control, the pretest/posttest was administered to one class that did not receive the intervention. A purposive sample of 60 pre-service teachers took the pre-test/posttest survey. Of those 60 participants, 40 pre-service teachers participated in the DB forums and received the intervention of the language unit. It was hypothesized that a solid curriculum of linguistic information would positively change students' attitudes toward diversity in language. Mixed ANOVA revealed statistically significant changes in the treatment group compared to the control group. Evidence of change was also seen in the qualitative data. Emergent themes included the following concepts: general content knowledge, language concept knowledge, social language knowledge, standard language knowledge and pedagogical concept knowledge.

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