Science in Silence: How Educators of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Teach Science Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019, Springer Nature B.V. Science learning is inextricably tied to two aspects of students’ lives: literacy and culture. While English Learners (ELs) who speak a non-English native language are typically the focus in this line of scholarly inquiry, deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students occupy a distinct space in this conversation. For DHH learners, literacy levels can be hindered by an early dependence on a more survival-based language learning model that postpones basic scientific inquiry. The vocabulary for curiosity is limited, which in turn affects the educational culture. DHH learners have a unique culture that demands an appropriate science curriculum, which thus far has not been explored or attempted for either DHH learners or their educators. Data collected consisted of interviews with teachers of DHH students, as well as observational data collected from a high-minority urban K-8 school for DHH students. The analysis revealed that, first, many of the teachers had limited preparation to teach science content. Second, DHH teachers used inconsistent instructional strategies ranging from drawing pictures to building models. Third, the modifications provided to DHH science learners were mostly limited to visual support and repetition. Implications for teacher education programs include instruction focused on specific supports for DHH students and co-teaching methods, and deeper investigation of inquiry-based science practices. Implications for classroom practices include providing hands-on, inquiry-based instruction, working closely with parents, and developing students’ and teachers’ understanding of scientific inquiry.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Raven, S., & Whitman, G. M.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • May 2019
  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM