Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Delores Liston

Committee Member 1

Delores Liston

Committee Member 2

Kymberly Drawdy

Committee Member 3

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 3 Email


Committee Member 4

Dana Sparkman

Committee Member 4 Email



The purpose of this study was to investigate deaf participants’ perspectives of their educational experiences within the last 50 years. The study was comprised of five deaf participants educated in the public school setting, and four deaf participants educated in the residential setting. The qualitative study utilized three in-depth interviews, a survey, and the researcher’s reflections/notes. The findings suggest deaf students’ educational experiences are impacted by low academic expectations. Sign language can be a powerful learning tool or a barrier for deaf students as deaf students depend on sign language and visuals to support their learning. Both spoken and written English are likely to be a struggle for deaf students. Emotional difficulties were associated with public and residential settings for the participants. Personal motivations, family members, and the type of setting had powerful influences on the participants. Freire’s (1993) theoretical framework of liberation was utilized in this study to engage participants in dialogue about the perceptions of their educational experiences.