Rodrigues, F.M., Rato, J.R., Mineiro, A., & Holmström, I. (2022). Unveiling teachers’ beliefs on visual cognition and learning styles of deaf and hard of hearing students: A Portuguese-Swedish study. PLoS ONE, 17(2): e0263216. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263216

Abstract

Vision is considered a privileged sensory channel for deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students to learn, and, naturally, they recognize themselves as visual learners. This assumption also seems widespread among schoolteachers, which led us to analyse the intersection between teachers’ beliefs on deaf and hard of hearing students’ academic achievement, visual skills, attentional difficulties, and the perceived importance of image display in class. An online survey was designed to analyse the beliefs of the schoolteachers about the deaf and hard of hearing students learning in educational settings from Portugal and Sweden. Participated 133 teachers, 70 Portuguese and 63 Swedish, from the preschool to the end of mandatory education (ages 3–18) with several years of experience. The content analysis and the computed SPSS statistical significance tests reveal that surveyed teachers believe that deaf and hard of hearing students have better visual skills when compared with their hearing peers yet show divergent beliefs about visual attentional processes. Within the teachers’ perceptions on learning barriers to DHH students, the distractibility and cognitive effort factors were highlighted, among communicational difficulties in class. Conclusions about the prevalence of learning misconceptions in teachers from both countries analysed, corroborate previous studies on neuromyths in education, and bring novelty to Deaf Education field. The work of translation of scientific knowledge, teacher training updating, and partnership between researchers and educators are also urgently needed in special education.

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