Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Gayle J. Luze

Second Advisor

Carla A. Peterson


During the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 5 million students in U.S. public schools (K-12) were heritage language speakers (HLSs), which represented almost 10% of total enrollment. The HLS population is expected to keep growing for the next decade (National Education Association, 2011). Teachers play a critical role in the learning and teaching process of students. Teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices toward children’s maintenance of heritage language and culture can have a powerful influence on HLSs’ beliefs and their performance. Researchers have found several factors can predict teachers’ beliefs about students’ heritage language maintenance, including teachers’ personal beliefs and education background, years of teaching experiences, English as second language (ESL) training, and ability to speak another language (Szecsi et al., 2015; Pettit, 2011; Lee & Oxelson, 2006; Garca-Nevarez et al., 2005, Byrnes, Kiger, & Manning, 1997). This study used interviews, observations, and a survey to explore elementary teacher’s beliefs and classroom practices in supporting students’ heritage language and culture. Results showed that teachers believed it was important to maintain HLSs’ heritage language. Schools and teachers were also implementing different stategies and practices to incorporate students’ heritage language and culture in classrooms. However, schools and teachers all faced challenges in meeting the needs of HLSs. Factors that contibute to teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices toward maintaining their students’ heritage langauge and culture were also investigated.


Copyright Owner

Liuran Fan



File Format


File Size

174 pages