The child I
have chosen for my school based independent study has ‘Profound Bilateral
Sensori Neural Deafness’ and has a ‘Bilateral Cochlear Implant’, which aims to
stimulate the auditory nerve directly to give a sensation of hearing (Gregory
et al, 1999). Without these implants, pupil X cannot hear any sound. In my
study, I will be evaluating what provisions are currently in place at the
school for the child and then investigating how this correlates with current
opinion and research. I will be looking at whether or not there are any
provisions and practices that may benefit the child at school in the future.
My school is
home to a Resource Base of the Deaf for Wakefield Council, I thought that it
would be a fantastic opportunity to learn more in depth; about how a child
learns when they have difficulty with their hearing and understand what
barriers they may face in an ‘inclusive’ lesson. The ‘Consortium for research
in Deaf Education’ estimated that there are 45,631 deaf children in the United
Kingdom in 2017, with around ten percent living in the Yorkshire and Humber
area (Cride, 2017).
(pupil X) I have chosen for my research is in Year nine (aged fourteen) and is
in a class that I teach, therefore, it made logistical and practical sense to
choose him for my independent study. Pupil X receives additional support from
the Resource Base to access to national curriculum. Pupil X has speech and
language delay as a result of his deafness, he is an oral communicator and is
working hard to develop his British Sign Language (BSL) skills. Pupil X has a
reading age of eleven years, two months and a vocabulary age of eleven years,
nine months, he has difficulties with working memory, retention and can suffer
from sensory fatigue. Socially, pupil X is confident to communicate with
hearing children and has both hearing and deaf peers, he has a positive deaf
identity. In lessons pupil X struggles with verbal tasks, although shows
strength in the visual domain.
I believe that
this study will contribute to my own professional development. I will be able
to understand a lot more about how children with hearing difficulties learn at
school. Subsequently, this will allow me to differentiate my teaching
appropriately and effectively whilst I am training and in my future career as a
teacher. As it is estimated that there are 45,631 deaf children (Cride, 2017)
it is almost certain that I will come across this again in my school career.
Consequently, this will be beneficial to the school where I am based and
myself, if I know and understand the best provisions and practise for the
children in the future.
Four hundred years
ago, people thought that the deaf could not learn. The first mention of
education for the deaf was in John Balwar’s book (1644) where he recognised
gestures (using hands) for communication. Thomas Braidwood was the first person
to educate the deaf however, it was only the elite that could learn as it was available
at an expensive private school in Edinburgh (Boudreault & Gertz, 2016).
Braidwood did not know any sign language, but learnt over time from the
children by using gestures. Proof of his success was when a student of his,
Lord Seaford, entered the houses of parliament as a member of parliament. 1792
– 1860 was the golden age of sign language in deaf education, Braidwoods’
teaching methods continued for another one hundred years; it was only after he
passed away people realised he was using a combining method (what is the
combining method) for forerunner to total communication (McgLoughlin, 1980).
In 1880 an
international conference was set up in Milan, ‘oralism’ was strongly supported
as it was thought that it would give deaf children the same opportunities as
hearing (Berkowitz & Jonas, 2014). Delegates decided that deaf children
spoke well, however, at this time (1880s) there was no audiological information
as to whether children were profoundly deaf or only slight. New audiological
technology was introduced post war between the 1950s and 1960s; this led to
measured degrees of deafness from profound, severe to partial. Schools’ had adhered
to the ‘oralist’ approach and sign language was banned. It is believed that in
the 1960s deaf children, socially were coping very well, however their
education was being massively stunted (Erting et al, 1996). By the 1970s deaf
children were leaving school with an average reading age of nine years and nine
months (Hornby, 2017), way below national average for hearing children. These were
the results based on standardized tests and similar was seen in the United States
of America (Traxler, 1997) and the Netherlands
(Tellings et al, 2006).
implant is an electronic device that provides immediate stimulation to the
cochlear through electrodes. The internal piece includes; electrodes and a receiver,
which are placed there surgically and the external pieces are; the microphone,
speech processor and transmitter (Gregory et al, 1999). This device produces a
sensation of sound and the receiver needs time to understand what these
sensations mean. There is an assumption that as soon as someone is fitted with
the device they can immediately hear; however this is not the case, time and
training is needed to get accustomed to the different sensations.//
In 1978, deaf
children were learning the national curriculum in mainstream schools for the
first time following advice of the Warnock Report (H. Warnock, 1978), Special
Educational Needs (SEN) was introduced as a legal term by the Education Act
1981 (Cline & Frederickson, 2009). In 1998 a study showed that deaf
children could thrive in mainstream education (reference). Socially,
mainstreaming was difficult (1978 onwards) however, today there seems to be no
problem with over 90% of deaf children in mainstream schools today (reference).
When deaf children left school and met up they could not understand one
another, this led the British Deaf Association (BDA) to campaign for free use
of communication – including sign language in 1987.
In the United
Kingdom today, there is a huge variation in availability of support from local
authorities. Some areas will have forty-seven deaf pupils to one teacher
whereas others can have up to one hundred for one member of staff (Cride,
2017). Three main areas of concern are; training teachers of the deaf, numbers
of teachers of the deaf and the variability of numbers of teachers in different
areas. There is a desperate shortage of deaf teachers (Cride, 2017). The
majority of children in mainstream schools are taught by mainstream teachers
with support staff. Some argue that to teach a deaf child the teacher must hold
a master’s degree to understand how a deaf child learns to get it right.
by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NCDS) show that the standard of
education for deaf children is still way behind that of hearing pupils. 65% of
deaf children are not getting five GCSEs A-C compared to 34% of hearing peers.
There seems to
be a lack of training and understanding when teaching deaf children. The DESF
conducted a survey in 2010 where 230 teachers (with CSW + INTERPRETORS) were
interviewed and only 25 had the relevant qualification. CSW needs a high level
of deaf awareness and so does a mainstream teacher. When there is a lot going
on in a classroom (for example, low level disruption), the child will struggle
to understand. Some schools will miss part of the national curriculum; however,
it needs to be the same with high expectations of schools and high levels of
controversial matter, considering the ways in which deaf children learn (oralist
etc) has often overshadowed finding out how deaf children learn, which should
be the main priority (Marschark & Knoors, 2014). If communication barriers
have been over come, for example, the use of cochlear implants, sign language
and other new technologies then children should learn the same curriculum at
the same rate, however, this is not the case (Hauser & Marschark, 2008).
schools in the past thirty years has ‘resulted in a wider diversity of students
in the public school’ (Martin & Moors, 2006). This means that the schools
and teachers alike have to make extra provisions when catering for a deaf
child. Mainstream schools are particularly noisy places and background noise
can severely affect speech perception in the classroom and thus is ‘detrimental
to academic learning in children’ (Crandell & Smaldino 2000; Dockrell &
Shield, 2006). The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) suggests
that classrooms are carpeted for improved acoustics, however, realises this is
not always logistical due to the accessibility of wheelchairs. The majority of
classrooms do not adhere to the basic requirements necessary for deaf children,
this is of increasing concern according to Marschark and Knoors (2014). In order for a deaf child to learn there are
questions such as, ‘would they benefit from sitting in a particular position?’
For example; towards the front of the room, close to the board and in direct
view of a support worker. Theoretically it would make logistical sense; however,
the consideration of the child’s feelings is important, they may feel
self-conscious about sitting with their supporter (RNID, 2007) and thus may
want a more discreet arrangement.
Knoors (2014) explain that for a mainstream classroom teacher, teaching
language is a complicated task due to the diversity of needs required by
individual deaf children. Additionally, the development of language proficiency
is much harder to predict compared to that of hearing children. The best way to
assess language proficiency with deaf learners should be done on an individual
basis along with the type of
assessment and the goals to be reached (Jamieson & Simmons, 2011). Despite there being no significant evidence
to support adaptations of lessons (Cawthon, 2011; Qi & Mitchell, 2012), teachers
often modify tests assuming that it is too difficult for deaf students. This idea
may seem to have good intent however deaf students’ skills cannot be validated
with accuracy during assessment.
Berkowitz, M., Jonas, J. and Sheridan, M.
(n.d.). Deaf and hearing siblings in conversation.
C. and Smaldino, J. (2001). Classroom Acoustics: Understanding Barriers
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J. and Shield, B. (2006). Acoustical barriers in classrooms: the impact of
noise on performance in the classroom. British Educational Research Journal, 32(3), pp.509-525.
Erting, C. (1996). The deaf way: Perspectives
from the International Conference on Deaf Culture.
Frederickson, N. and Cline, T.
(n.d.). Special educational needs, inclusion and diversity.
Gertz, G. and Boudreault, P. (2016). The
SAGE deaf studies encyclopedia. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Traxler, C. and Allen, T. (1997). Stanford 9. Washington, D.C.:
Hornby, G. (2017). Controversial
Issues in Special Education. s.l.: routledge.
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Marschark, M., & Hauser,
P. C. (2012). How deaf children
learn: what parents and teachers need to know. New York, Oxford University
Marschark, M. (2014). Bilingualism
and bilingual deaf education. New York: Oxford University Press.
Marschark, M. and Hauser, P. (2008). Deaf
cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Marschark, M. and Spencer, P. (2010). The
Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education. Oxford: Oxford
Marschark, M. and Knoors, H. (2003). Teaching Deaf Learners: Psychological and
Developmental Foundations. USA: OUP.
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Accessed 1 Jan. 2018.
Spencer, P and Marschark, M.
(2010). Evidence-based practice in
educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students. New York, NY: Oxford
Spencer, P and Marschark, M. (2011). The Oxford
handbook of deaf studies, language, and education. Oxford: Oxford
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the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young
People. London, H.M.S.O
Wood, D. (1998). How
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