The Drive of Flemish Deaf Teachers to Teach Deaf Children

Autor/a: KUSTERS, Marieke
Año: 2015
Editorial: VII Deaf Academics Researchers Conference, 2015
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital




In Flanders, there are few deaf teachers to teach deaf children in deaf education and in mainstream education. In 2013, when I conducted my research, there were seven special educational settings for deaf children. Only two of them employed qualified deaf teachers while four of them had (not qualified) deaf employees. One of my research questions was to explore how deaf teachers experience their own educational practices, as a teacher for deaf children within special educational settings for deaf children. I answered this question through an ethnographic research study. My research design contained three different research methods: a study of a one-week diary, participant observation in classrooms and schools (including meetings with colleagues and playground supervision) of three active, qualified deaf teachers and in-depth semi-structured interviews with the same three active teachers and two non-active, qualified deaf teachers.

It appeared that deaf teachers do not want the next generation of deaf children to have the same education they themselves had, which they are not satisfied with (neither mainstream education, nor special education). This is their main drive to teach deaf children. This sense of justice translates into deaf teachers’ sense of responsibility for the education of deaf children and into acts of advocacy aimed at the predominantly hearing staff, by explaining and defending the strengths and needs of deaf children. Deaf teachers feel responsible to explain the world to the children by giving information about society, by offering tips and methods how to deal with this society (both deaf and hearing) and by showing that being deaf is a way of life. This is presented through their own narratives, by giving examples from their own lives as a deaf person and through their performance, whilst constantly reflecting about how to present themselves as a deaf person to the children, their parents, the school and the outside world. Summarised, intergenerational relationships between deaf teachers and deaf children and deaf teachers’ sense of responsibility are powerful motivations for deaf teachers to teach the following generations.