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Attitudes and knowledge about hearing loss among deaf and hearing children in shared learning classrooms Schmaltz, Jacqueline Jeanette

Abstract

Research concerning second language learners, specifically those learning a second spoken/written language, has been used extensively over the past two decades to support educational approaches being used with students who are deaf and hard of hearing without much direct research on its applicability or impact on the education of children who are deaf. This was an exploratory quasi experimental study in which 33 hearing children in multigrade educational settings, 18 in a regular classroom environment, the quasi control group, and 15 in a shared learning environment with deaf children, completed a survey composed of two subscales, information and attitudes at two times, November and June, during the school year. The benefits of shared learning for hearing children is apparent in the statistically significant difference in hearing children's knowledge about hearing loss, the ear and American Sign Language (ASL), as well as an increase in positive attitudes toward individuals with a hearing loss when educated alongside children who are deaf. Seven deaf children in grade two educated in a shared learning setting alongside hearing peers completed a similar version of the same survey at three times, November, February and June. The effect of shared learning on the attitudes and knowledge of children who are deaf describes a U-curve similar to that experienced by second language learners entering a new culture (Lysgaard, 1955; Oberg, 1998) or individuals undertaking a novel creative endeavor or project (Gullahorn & Gullahorn, 1963) in their attitudes toward individuals with a hearing loss when educated in a shared learning environment alongside hearing peers.

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