Awareness of the benefits of sign bilingual education in the education of deaf children in Zimbabwe


  • Patrick Sibanda Department of Disability Studies and Special Needs Education, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Zimbabwe Open University, Zimbabwe


Sign bilingual education, Inclusive mainstream schools, Deaf children, Deaf and hard of hearing (DDH)


The study sought to interrogate the extent administrators, teachers and deaf children in the few mainstream schools that used sign bilingual education in Zimbabwe were aware of the benefits of sign bilingual education. The study adopted the mixed methods approach which is grounded in the philosophy of pragmatism. Employing the sequential explanatory design, the study involved 100 teachers, 30 administrators and 30 deaf children from schools that used sign bilingual education from the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province for the quantitative phase. One administrator and 6 teachers per school were engaged in the qualitative phase. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data while personal face-to-face and focus group interviews (FGIs) were used to collect qualitative data. The integrated results of the study indicated evidence of awareness of the benefits of sign bilingual education in the education of deaf children in inclusive mainstream schools in Zimbabwe. From the results, the study concluded that such awareness implied potential for more effective practice of sign bilingual education in the country in order to advance these benefits. Ultimately, the study recommended further research and proposed a framework of practice termed ‘Sibanda’s Framework of the Practice of Sign Bilingual Education in Zimbabwe.


Bleisch, S., Dykes, J., Nebiker, S., 2010. A mixed methods research approach for 3D geovisualization evaluation. A paper presented at the workshop on methods and techniques of use, user and usability research, 13 April, London.

Cawthon, S.W., 2001. Teaching strategies in inclusive classrooms with deaf students. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ., 6(3), 212-225.

Creswell, J.W., Klassen, A.O., Plano Clark, V.L., Smith, K.C., 2011. Best practices for mixed methods in health sciences. London, Sage.

Dammeyer, J., 2014. Literacy skills among deaf and hard of hearing students and students with cochlear implants in bilingual/bicultural education. Deaf. Educ. Int., 16(2), 108-119.

Everest, T., 2014. Resolving the qualitative-quantitative debate in healthcare research. Acad. J., 5(1), 6-15.

Fiorini, L., Griffiths, A., Houdmont, J., 2016. Mixed methods research in the health sciences: A review. Malta J. Health Sci.,

Garate, M., 2012. ASL/English bilingual education: Models, methodologies and strategies. Vis. Lang. Vis. Learn. Res. Brief., 2(8), 1-8.

Glaser, M., Van Pletzen, E., 2012. Inclusive education for deaf students: Literacy practices and south African sign language. S Afr. Linguist. Appl. Lang. Stud., 30(1), 25-37.

Gregory, S., 2006. Sign bilingual education and cochlear implants. s/publications/on-linemagazine/sign/sibi-ed-ci.htm

Hanson, W.E., Creswell, J.W., Plano Clark, V.L., Petska, K.S., Creswell, J.D., 2005. Mixed methods research designs in counselling psychology. Faculty Publications, Department of Psychology Paper 373, http://digitalcommonsunl .edu/pschfacpub

Higgins, M., Lieberman, A.M., 2016. Deaf students as a linguistic and cultural minority: Shifting perspectives and implications for teaching and learning. J. Educ., 196(1), 9-18.

Hsing, M., 2015. The impact of sign bilingual inclusive program on deaf and hearing young children in Taiwan. Taiwan, National University of Tainan.

Hult, F.M., Compton, S.E., 2012. Deaf education policy as language policy: A comparative analysis of Sweden and the United States. Sign Lang. Stud., 12(4), 602-620.

Humphries, T., 2013. Schooling in American sign language: A paradigm shift from a deficit model to a bilingual model in deaf education. Berkeley Rev. Educ., 4(1), 7-33.

Kermit, P., 2010. Choosing for the child with cochlear implants: A note of precaution. Med. Health Care Philos., 13, 157-167.

Knoors, H., Marshark, M., 2012. Language planning for the 21st century: Revisiting bilingual language policy for deaf children. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ., 17(3), 291-305.

Kushalnagar, P., Hannay, H.J., Hernandez, A.E., 2010. Bilingualism and attention: A study of balanced and unbalanced bilingual deaf users of American sign language and English. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ., 15(3), 263-273.

Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Moreland, C.J., Jo Napoli, D., Osterling, W., Padden, C., Rathmann, C., 2012. Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. J. Clin. Ethic., 21(2), 143-154.

Lange, C.M., Lane-Outlaw, S., Lange, W.E., Sherwood, D.L., 2013. American sign language/English bilingual model: A longitudinal study of academic growth. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ., DOI: 10.1093/deafed/ent027

Leeson, L., 2006. Signed languages in education in Europe: A preliminary exploration. Strasbourg, Council of Europe/Language Policy Division.

Levesque, E., Brown, P.M., Wigglesworth, G., 2014. The impact of bimodal bilingual parental input on the communication and language development of a young deaf child. Deaf. Educ. Int., 16(3), 161-181.

Mayer, C., Leigh, G., 2010. The changing context for sign bilingual education programs: Issues in language and the development of literacy. Int. J. Biling. Educ. Biling., 13(2), 175-186, 74085

Menken, K., Slorza, C., 2014. No child left bilingual: Accountability and the elimination of bilingual education programs in New York city schools. Educ. Pol., 28(1), 96-125.

Mitchner, J.C., 2015. Deaf parents of cochlear-implanted children: Beliefs on bimodal-bilingualism. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ., 20(1), 51-66.

Mweri, J.G., 2014. Diversity in education: Kenyan sign language of instruction in schools for the deaf in Kenya. Multilingual Educ., 4(14), 1-14.

Nussbaum, D.B., Scott, S., Simms, L.E., 2012. The “why” and “how” of an ASL/English bimodal bilingual program. New Direct. Deaf Educ., 13, 14-19.

Svartholm, K., 2010. Bilingual education for deaf children in Sweden. Int. J. Biling. Educ. Biling., 13(2), 159-174.

Swanwick, R., 2016. Deaf children’s bimodal bilingualism and education. Lang. Teach., 49(1), 1-34.

Swanwick, R., Dammeyer, J., Kristoffersen, A., Simonsen, E., 2016. Shifting contexts and practices in sign bilingual education in Northern Europe: Implications for professional development and training. Bilingualism and Bilingual Deaf Education, DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199371815.003.0012.

Tang, G., 2016. Sign bilingualism in deaf education. In: Garcia et al. (Eds) Bilingual and multilingual education. Encyclopaedia of Language and Education, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02324-3_35-2

Tang, G., Yiu, C.K., 2015. Sign language in co-enrollment education for deaf children. Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Terrell, S.R., 2012. Mixed-methods research methodologies. The Qualitative Report, 17(1), 254-280.

Vygotsky, L.S., 1983. The fundamentals of defectology. In: Rieber, R.W., Carton, A.S. (eds). The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky (Vol. 2). Translated by Knox, J.E. and Stevens, C.B., London, Plenum.

World Federation for the Deaf (WFD), 2011. Bilingualism as a basic human right for deaf children in education. Rome, WFD.

World Federation for the Deaf (WFD), 2016. WFD position paper on the language rights of deaf children. Version 1.0, 7 September. Helenski, WFD.

Yiu, C.K., 2015. Classroom participation of deaf and hard of hearing students in a sign bilingualism and co-enrollment (SLCO) education setting. Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.



How to Cite

Sibanda, P. . (2018). Awareness of the benefits of sign bilingual education in the education of deaf children in Zimbabwe. Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 7(11), 823-832. Retrieved from



Social Sciences

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>