Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Darragh Callahan

Abstract

Children born to teen mothers tend to score lower on language development assessments and to have school readiness delays. To support teen mothers and their children in improving language development, educators need information about mothers' daily interactions with their children and how they contribute to their children's language development. The purpose of this descriptive case study was to understand mothers'perceptions of how they influenced their children's language development through play, routines, and other informal interactions. Flavell, Vygotsky, and Bruner's views on how learners' construct knowledge informed the study. Research questions were focused on the mothers' perceptions regarding interactions during routines and during play and on the mothers' beliefs about how influential they were developing their children's language skills. Data were gathered through semistructured interviews, journals, and follow-up questions addressed in narratives or additional interviews. A combination of a priori and open coding was used to support inductive analysis. Participants believed that they influenced their children's development and wanted to increase what they know about overall development and specifically language development. They indicated that they did not have enough time for reading, that they used songs and chants frequently, and that participation in the study made them think more about the importance of conversations shared within activities. The results of this study may help teen mothers, their families, and those who provide education and support to teen mothers in mentoring groups, faith-based support groups, and alternative high schools. Social change will occur when young parents are supported in enhancing the lives of their children.