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Deaf children as language learners: The strategies teachers use to support early language development in deaf children in Kenya

Wapling, Lorraine Michelle; (2023) Deaf children as language learners: The strategies teachers use to support early language development in deaf children in Kenya. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Deaf children experience low academic results in comparison to hearing peers despite the fact that deafness is not a learning disability. This is experienced most acutely in the global South where access to early diagnosis and family support mechanisms are limited. Despite a positive inclusive education policy environment, deaf children in Kenya show poor average results in the national exams at the end of primary school indicating that the system is not meeting their educational needs. Currently there is little academic research that specifically documents the educational challenges facing teachers of deaf primary age children in low resource contexts. This study will explore whether special education teachers in Kenya are equipped to assess and support the early language development needs of deaf children. The study is situated within Skyer’s deaf-centric approach focusing analysis on the extent to which classroom practice pays full attention to the biosocial aspects of young deaf children’s lived reality. A participant-as-observer, qualitative research approach was used to collect data from early years classroom teachers across three schools for deaf children in Kenya. An interpretive analysis framework was used to determine findings. A novel early language assessment tool was trialled to help teachers identify primary language difficulties amongst their students. Findings revealed deaf children to be significantly delayed in their primary language capabilities with teachers who were ill-prepared for their specific educational needs. It suggests that pedagogy and curriculum materials were creating confusing language environments that were hindering development of primary language in the deaf children. This study recommends a mindset change in approach to early years education for deaf children: to move away from viewing signed languages as an impairment accommodation towards a focus on primary language development needs. Deaf-centric approaches should be applied. Internationally, inclusive education programmes must pay attention to this unmet educational need.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Deaf children as language learners: The strategies teachers use to support early language development in deaf children in Kenya
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2023. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10173437
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