Disability Studies Quarterly
Fall 2006, Volume 26, No. 4
Copyright 2006 by the Society
for Disability Studies


Moores, D.F. & Martin, D.S. (Eds.). (2006). Deaf Learners: Developments in Curriculum and Instruction. Washington: Gallaudet University Press. 261 pages, $75, ISBN: 1-56368-285-0.

Review by Carol L. Adams-Means, University of Texas at San Antonio

Inclusion of hearing impaired students in a mainstream educational environment is a trend developed over the last 20 years. Deaf education specialists receive training in delivery of instruction to hearing impaired students, but school administrators, teachers and peers in general education are less familiar with the education needs of these students. The contributors to Deaf Learners: Developments in Curriculum and Instruction offer salient concepts to foster understanding for the culture of deaf learners, guides for instructional adaptation of curriculum, not for just inclusion of the deaf learner, but to encourage achievement in the hearing impaired in order that the student receive educational experiences equitable to those of their peers. The contributors incorporate recommended curriculum standards from respected organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education as they provide suggestions on methods for incorporating these standards into instructional content areas that include mathematics, reading and writing, science and social sciences, and physical education.

Part Two provides insight for teaching core curricula as well as physical education to deaf learners, then describes the pragmatic aspects of deaf education such as providing services, educating about Deaf culture, working with students with multiple disabilities and the ultimate goal of quality education — transition into the workforce. Pagliaro, in the chapter "Mathematics Education and the Deaf Learner," emphasizes the need for person-centered educational planning, especially when teaching mathematics to students with multiple disabilities. She describes some of the difficulties in translating written English to American Sign Language in communicating to deaf learners: "no standardized signs exist for many math concepts" (Pagliaro, p.34). Signing, counting and language differences "may limit the types of problems they experience and in their conceptual development of mathematics" (p. 35). She also comments that teachers in deaf education often may not have a math certification and recommends implementation of deaf reform and greater attention to teacher preparation. Further, in an effort to provide educational equity to students with disabilities, Deaf Learners suggests emphasis has been placed on "normalization" where success was measured in the ability of a deaf child to approximate normal spoken English. Other complexities of delivery of deaf education services involve the use of itinerant deaf education teachers as students with disabilities are mainstreamed in public education. Luckner, in the chapter titled, "Providing Itinerant Services," offers guidelines to assist organization, management, and teaching effectiveness for itinerant deaf education teachers who often serve multiple schools during the course of a week. New teachers may find his suggestions particularly helpful since these teachers, according to Luckner, usually work from a mobile office rather than a fixed school office location. This suggests the instructor must be highly organized in addition to offering quality education. Student centered curriculum is underscored through the book in an effort to increase understanding of Deaf culture, students with additional special needs and their transition to the workforce.

Part Three considers appropriate assessment methods for the deaf and hard of hearing learner. In the absence of a more detailed guideline for delivery of deaf education, the book offers a framework from which to begin. Educators of all training and disciplines who are interested in the effective delivery of instruction and equitable assessment for deaf and hard of hearing learners will find this book informative in gaining a better understanding of the particular needs of these learners, and the gap between traditional classroom education and special learners. Miller comments, "the literature is rife with suggestions for testing deaf children that may result in significantly underestimating their intelligence levels" (p. 165), ostensibly due to their learning differences. The editors and contributors to Deaf Learners: Developments in Curriculum and Instruction have compiled a set of articles that are informative and give practical suggestions for educators and administrators who are concerned with creating positive, success oriented educational experiences for special learners.