An examination of literacy instruction by teachers of adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing

The purpose of this study was to determine how teachers of adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing support the development of literacy.

Teachers of adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing in Utah were identified as the focal point of a collective case study. Three teachers were selected based on characteristics of exemplary literacy instruction. Specific behaviors observed included frequent opportunities for reading and writing, individually challenging tasks, student regulation of progress, cross-curricular instruction, positive environment, effective classroom management, and a balanced instructional approach.

In this qualitative study, observations, interviews and artifacts were used to identify the practices, beliefs, and attitudes of participants in relation to literacy development. Over 150 hours of observation notes, interview transcripts, and artifact descriptions or photos were subjected to within-case and cross-case analysis. The within-case analysis revealed each teacher’s individual strengths and areas of expertise in literacy instruction.

The cross-case analysis was conducted through pair comparison, data source analysis, and category comparison.

Findings of the cross-case analysis indicated participants used research-based practices in the areas of transition services and planning, language development, vocabulary development, and learning strategy instruction to support literacy development for adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing. Transition services were embedded throughout all curricular areas and focused on preparing students for the literacy demands of adulthood. Language development was fostered through explicit instruction in the morphological and syntactic structures of English. Vocabulary development was provided through explicit instruction in figurative language, exposure to vocabulary across various contexts, and student-selected vocabulary. Students were explicitly taught research-based learning strategies to improve their literacy skills. Further research is necessary to determine the current practices common among educators of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, achievement outcomes resulting from instructional practices, support and training needs of middle and high school teachers, and the role of training programs in preparing teachers of adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Howell, J. J. (2003). An examination of literacy instruction by teachers of adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing. Dissertation Abstracts International, 64(7), 2445A. (UMI No. 3099710).