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Title: Teacher resistance to oralism in the 1970s : a case study of a school for the deaf
Author: Fullwood, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9177
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The central aim of this research was to investigate teacher resistance in a deaf school, in the South West of England, as they responded to contradictions in their careers during the oral method of deaf education. The most notable contradiction was that the oral methods failed a sizeable portion of deaf students who had no recourse to other methods. Other contradictions revolved around differences between the interpretation of deaf lives from a cultural or medical viewpoint and tensions between the influences of normalisation and the growing acceptance of diversity. Giddens' (1984) ontological project of structuration is used as a sensitising lens for the study because of its focus on both structures, rules and resources for social actions, and individual agency blended in a recursive relationship. A bricolage of interviews and historical documents are used to create a history of the school outlining the dominant structures in deaf education and the development of the oral method through time, ultimately to the late 1970s when, in this case study, the oral method was augmented with Cued Speech and Sign Supported English. This case study focuses on thirteen teachers who taught mainly through the 1970s, of which eleven participated in semi-structured interviews. Grounded theory is used as a way of collecting and analysing data so that the findings were, in large, inductive. Conformity to the oral method, in most cases, required a state of consciousness that Giddens (1984) called a practical consciousness, where teachers replicated existing patterns of society, including the more durable structures associated with their social positioning, that is their socially legitimated identities. Oppositional behaviours, including resistance, required a discursive consciousness where agents explored other opportunities triggered as a result of contradictions that arose in their lives. Most participants conformed to the oral method but a few employed occasional oppositional behaviours, for example allowing students to sign to those who could not profit from the oral teaching. Three participants resisted the oral method, evidenced by developing Deaf cultural competencies and with that a growing awareness of deaf epistemologies. This epistemic reflexivity led them to value and learn sign language and Deaf culture and develop transformative practices, creating different deaf pedagogies in safe spaces away from the prying eyes of other teachers and the school leadership. From limited discussions with some pupils, who attended the school during the 1960s and 1970s, these behaviours and teaching styles were welcomed and appreciated by the students.
Supervisor: Allan, A. ; Anglin-Jaffe, H. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Deaf ; Education ; Teacher Resistance ; Deaf Education