Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Colleen P. Gilrane

Committee Members

Kimberly A. Wolbers, Kristin Rearden, Thomas N. Turner


The purpose of this dissertation was to describe preservice teachers’ perceptions of scientific inquiry and science teaching to deaf and hard of hearing students. Participants were four deaf education preservice teachers enrolled in a graduate level course on content area methods during their professional internship year. The instructor employed implicit and explicit reflective pedagogy for the science methods section and focused on scientific practices. Research questions guiding this study are as follows: 1) What are deaf education preservice teachers’ perceptions of scientific inquiry? and 2) What are deaf education preservice teachers’ perceptions of science teaching and learning among deaf and hard of hearing students? The researcher utilized instrumental case study criteria to guide the design of this dissertation. Data collection included interviews, surveys, and course artifacts. Thematic analysis of the data indicated that preservice teachers’ perceive scientific inquiry as procedural and linear, incorporating largely physical and cognitive practices. Preservice teachers privilege content learning and vocabulary and consider the visual learning environment when teaching science to deaf and hard of hearing students. Inquiry science and language use in science were discussed, but were not as developed in the course artifacts (e.g. lesson plans). These findings suggest that transfer of knowledge occurred primarily from deaf education courses, as opposed to science or science methods courses. This study is an attempt to collect empirical evidence that can inform researchers and educators on potential implications in deaf education preparation and in science education preparation.

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