Deaf education and the claims of the deaf

Rachelle Deanne Hole
Historically deaf education has been dominated by an ongoing struggle between interest groups regarding methods of communication. It is a context where the claims of different groups have had disparate influence on policy. The claims of the Deaf, the linguistic minority group, have been silenced in this historical context. Adopting a theoretical perspective of claimsmaking this qualitative study explored the process by which professionals reached their respective beliefs regarding communication
more » ... policy. Nine professionals representing the three major communication methods used in deaf education (auditory/oralism, total communication, and bilingual/biculturalism) were interviewed. It was found that the participants' processes of reaching their respective views were subjective, being influenced by such factors as their view of deafness, their personal identity as hearing or deaf, their world view, their life experiences and their educational philosophy. This finding points to the importance of professionals examining how their own culture, experiences and history influence their beliefs which in turn influences practice. In addition the findings highlight the reality that the Deaf are the only ones in society with firsthand knowledge and experience of what it means to be deaf in a hearing society. Therefore, the Deaf can offer valuable insight about the needs of deaf children and should be critical actors in the process of policy development.
doi:10.14288/1.0098922 fatcat:kmctoqpz3fbc3chwpuodta7c4u