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Interactions between an integrated deaf child of hearing parents and his hearing partners in the school setting: a vygoskian perspective Shaw, Jeanne Annette


The purpose of this research was to describe, from a Vygotskian perspective, the nature and quality of the social interactions experienced by a fully integrated deaf child of hearing parents (dchp) in the school setting. Because social transmission of information is one of the key ways that members acquire social knowledge and because dchp do not have easy access to reciprocal communication with the hearing adults and peers who surround them, it was anticipated that examination of the social interaction processes would yield important information about the cultural knowledge of the deaf child. A case study research design was used, focussing on the interactions of an eight year-old male dchp who had been fully integrated among hearing peers. The dchp was videotaped for nine hours in both social and instructional settings. The videotapes were analyzed to determine patterns of communicative action. The dchp was found to interact primarily with girls in social settings and with the Sign Language interpreter in instructional settings. He seldom initiated interactions and responded only briefly to most of his partners' contributions. Linguistic semiotic mediation was used to discuss a limited number of topics and was usually highly contextualized. Although many communication breakdowns were not repaired, however, reciprocal dialogues between the deaf child and hearing partners who signed well were also noted. Unexpected findings emerged regarding the effects of the Sign Language interpreter during interaction between the classroom teacher and the deaf student. The case study design was found to be a pedagogically useful tool. Overall, the findings are consistent with Vygotsky's theory of child development.

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