Voices of the Har-of-Hearing about their L2 Acquisition Struggles: A Case Study

Keywords: foreign language instruction, hard of hearing, hearing loss, inclusion, integrated classrooms, special education


In the context of advocacy of the rights of minorities, communities should learn more about the learning rights of students who experience hearing loss. This paper reports a qualitative case study that looked into the perspectives and retrospectives on learning in integrated classrooms of three hard of hearing participants. They identified problems of the reproduction of inequalities such as lack of special arrangements to meet their needs. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding of how these learners struggled and made sense of their schooled L2 learning. For the Hard of Hearing, listening goes beyond perceiving sounds. Their interpretation draws on attitudes, affectivity, body language, and context. They hear with their ears but listen with the other senses. They require analyzing the environment, the facial expression, how people talk, the tone of voice, the behavior, the movements, the place and the moment to figure out messages; words alone are insufficient. Participants insisted that their invisible disability requires specific pedagogies and the support of communities. The results of the study fell in three dimensions: The Affective Dimension referred to family, classmates and teachers’ empathy, or lack of it, towards their condition. The Communicative Dimension involved the participants’ perception of communication with teachers, classmates, and their self-perception of communication. The Attitudinal Dimension involved the perception of the attitude of teachers, institutions, and their own attitudes towards L2 learning. The results suggest that 1. HHs feel capable of mastering an L2 in integrated classrooms, 2. Language policies and standardized exams misrepresent the HHs’ capabilities, and 3. Classroom equity demands material selection and methodological adjustments.

Author Biographies

Rigoberto Castillo , Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Colombia

holds a Ph.D. in Education and an M.A in applied linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. Professor at Universidad Distrital and member of the research group Formación de Educadores. Guest lecturer at post-graduate programs at Universidad de San Buenaventura and Universidad de Caldas, Colombia, Fulbright alumnus, and recipient of the National Award of Asociación Colombiana de Profesores de Inglés (ASOCOPI-TESOL).

Laura Stefany Florez-Martelo, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Colombia

holds a B.A. in Education with a major in English Language Teaching from Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in Colombia. Her undergraduate research work received a distinction. Recipient of the Turkish Language School Scholarship. Ms. Florz-Martelo has participated in several international education conferences to advocate for inclusion and debunk the myths and misconceptions about hard-of-hearing individuals, like herself.


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How to Cite
Castillo , R., & Florez-Martelo, L. S. (2020). Voices of the Har-of-Hearing about their L2 Acquisition Struggles: A Case Study : . GIST – Education and Learning Research Journal, 21, 167-190. https://doi.org/10.26817/16925777.822
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