Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

John Murphy

Second Advisor

Diane Belcher

Third Advisor

Youjin Kim

Fourth Advisor

Shuai Li

Fifth Advisor

Jun Liu


Across North America and especially in the United States, the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language(CFL) to native speakers of English has expanded tremendously in recent years. Accordingly, related fields such as Chinese language pedagogy, language policy, CFL acquisition, and CFL teacher development have attracted researchers’ attention. Among existing areas of research, the cognitions and instructional practices of CFL teachers in the U.S., especially those who teach in K-8 schools have rarely been documented or examined. This situation means that contemporary K-8 CFL teacher development programs have access to limited information about CFL teachers’ cognitions, instructional challenges, and professional preparation needs. To address these informational gaps, this empirical case study of CFL teachers' cognition and instructional practices related to classroom management in US K-8 school settings center on seven teacher-participants who teach within the CFL program of a charter school located in a southeast urban region of the U.S. The study focuses on how these CFL teachers manage young CFL learners’ classrooms; rationales the teachers depend upon to support their classroom management practices; and the cultural, experiential, and contextual factors that affect their related cognitions and practices. Through the analysis of qualitative data comprised of semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recall interviews, focus group interviews, and observations of teacher meetings, findings reveal that the participating teachers’ cognitions and related classroom management practices are individual, complicated, contextual, experiential, and constantly evolving. The multi-faceted aspects of the teachers’ cognitions including their beliefs, thoughts, knowledge, attitudes, and emotions influence their classroom practices in different ways and to different degrees. The participating teachers’ cultural backgrounds, contextual factors of the school, and the teachers’ awareness of their professional development histories all contribute to their cognitions and related practices. The study has important research implications for future CFL teacher cognition investigations and practical implications for the fields of CFL teaching and CFL teacher education in the U.S. and globally. The study and its implications will better inform language teachers, teacher educators, school administrators, and policy-makers interested in fostering more effective K-8 CFL instruction and teacher development, especially in the U.S., Taiwan, and mainland China.