Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Ursula Aldana

Second Advisor

Jane Bleasdale

Third Advisor

Walter Gmelch


As a frontline teacher and administrator, I received feedback consistently from parents and students asking for a fun and effective method of instruction for Chinese language development in the US. This study explored the micro-level of how teachers in Chinese immersion schools create an environment to support development of students’ critical thinking skills while learning Chinese. I applied a qualitative approach to the research and designed a case study focused on answering the following research questions: How do teachers help their students to develop critical thinking skills when teaching in a Chinese immersion program? What are the challenges teachers have when teaching critical thinking skills in a Chinese immersion program? What is the instructional support needed that would influence practices in teaching critical thinking skills in a Chinese immersion program? The study revealed that Chinese language becomes a communication medium to enhance students’ cognitive development when teachers strategically pose high-level thinking questions to create a space where students can actively exchange and learn from each other. When approached and applied with purpose, Chinese language becomes a necessary language for US students to increase their ability to employ necessary cognitive and social strategies, and to think flexibly and abstractly about their lives. This study also revealed that instructional leadership has a strong influence on the efficacy of teachers’ professional development.