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Title: Developing understandings of deaf students' learning in mainstream secondary classrooms : teaching assistants' perspectives
Author: Salter, Jacqueline Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 2311
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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This study investigates teaching assistants’ (TA) perspectives of deaf students’ learning experiences within mainstream secondary schools. The majority of deaf students are educated within such settings and they underachieve in all curriculum areas when compared with their hearing peers. The investigation adopts a holistic perspective of learning originally developed in the field of adult education. A collaborate methodology was developed to facilitate a trustworthy realisation of TAs’ perspectives. Six TAs were recruited to the Data Group and four to the Reference Group; both were engaged in a three stage iterative, qualitative research process comprising focus group meetings and individual interviews. A third group, the Reference Group, consisted of seven deaf students; five mainstream teachers and three teachers of the deaf who provided validation of the Data Group TAs’ working context through individual interviews. Consideration was given to how the TAs talked about learning and the challenges they perceived the deaf students encountered in the classroom. The TAs described a range of issues related to deaf students’ knowledge acquisition, skills and mental state along with environmental factors they perceived impacted on the students’ learning experiences. The findings indicated that deaf students may be engaged in a significant amount of accommodative learning in classrooms designed to support assimilative learning. The TAs identified that their own presence in the classroom impacts on the nature of the social situation and potentially creates a barrier between the deaf student and the mainstream teacher. They considered that mainstream teachers’ lack of understanding regarding the impact of deafness significantly affected the students’ learning experiences. They also indicated that the manner in which members of the classroom environment responded to the deaf student may be problematic. Suggestions are made for future investigations and a new model for the deployment of TAs to support deaf students is proposed.
Supervisor: Pearson, Susan ; Swanwick, Ruth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available