Description: This research study compared learning of 4-8th grade deaf students under two modes of educational delivery – interpreted vs. direct instruction. Nineteen deaf students participated in the study in which they were taught six science lessons in American Sign Language. In one condition, the lessons were taught by a hearing teacher in English and were delivered in ASL via a professional interpreter. In the second condition, the lessons were taught to the students in ASL by a deaf teacher. All 19 children saw three lessons delivered via an interpreter and three other lessons in direct ASL; the order of delivery presentation was counter balanced between two groups of students. Following the instruction, each group was tested on the science lecture material with six comprehension questions. Results indicated that deaf students who received direct instruction in ASL from the deaf teacher scored higher on content knowledge than deaf students who received the instruction through the interpreter.
Lecturer bio: Dr. Kim Kurz is the Chairperson of the American Sign Language & Interpreter Education department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She earned her doctorate in education with emphasis on deaf and hard of hearing students from the University of Kansas. Her areas of expertise include ASL pedagogical methods, ASL national standards, and ASL learning outcomes. She is the co-author of the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture series and is primary author of Learning Outcomes for American Sign Language Skills: Levels 1-4.
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