Curriculum: Cultural and Communicative Contexts

Des Power and Greg Leigh

in The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education, Volume 1, Second Edition

Second edition

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199750986
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Curriculum: Cultural and Communicative Contexts

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  • Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology



In this chapter “curriculum” is taken to refer to all of the arrangements that are made for student learning—planned and unintended—not just the documents that outline content, objectives, and procedures (the syllabus). For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, aspects of the curriculum will be determined by how deafness is defined, what is valued, and perceptions of what a “deaf life” may mean. In particular, issues such as the developers’ perspectives on deafness (“sociocultural” or “medical”), program location (regular or separate school), methods of communication (auditory-oral only, sign language, or some combination), and the likely nature of post-school life for deaf people (engagement with the Deaf community) will be critical in determining curriculum content and outcomes. This chapter considers these issues and argues that the curriculum development process should consider the full range of possible social, cultural, and communicative contexts for deaf learners in establishing objectives and learning experiences for them. The determination of curriculum objectives for deaf and hard hard-of of-hearing students is also influenced by the often-noted difficulties they have with the language of education. The chapter considers “curriculum areas” such as mathematics, science, and social studies and recent developments in the use of multi-media applications from the particular perspective of deaf learners. The role of “Deaf Studies” in school curricula is also canvassed, as are the implications for deaf students of their placement in regular or separate educational settings. Finally, assessment of curriculum outcomes is considered, both within the school setting and for deaf students’ participation in state and national testing regimes.

Keywords: deaf; hard-of-hearing; hearing loss; Curriculum; program placement; methods of communication; school subjects; language; assessment; outcomes

Article.  10822 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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