Tijana Hirsch

Wingate Academic College, Israel;  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3492-778X

Orly Kayam

Wingate Academic College, Israel; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6422-0773


Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal.  Volume 2021-2(6).  COVID-19 – LINGUISTIC WELL-BEING (BEFORE DURING, AND AFTER THE PANDEMIC), pp. 93-109



Informed by the sociocultural theory on learning and approached as an ethnographic logic of inquiry, the aim of this telling case study is to explore and share the experiences of a hearing educator’s socialization into a deaf community of practice within Gallaudet – the only institution of higher learning in the world for the deaf and the hard of hearing students, her consequent teaching beliefs, her family language polices (FLPs)[1] and what she has learned about FLPs of the families she worked with. By drawing on different disciplines the purpose of our explorations is to contribute to the inclusion of 1) sign languages in the discussions on bilingualism, language learning and teaching, linguistic diversity, and 2) FLPs within deaf communities in the study of FLP. Following the presentation of the participant’s journey into and within the deaf community, we turn to her FLP and the knowledge she has acquired regarding FLPs of families with deaf family members. We conclude with discussions on access and inclusivity within the mainstream institutions of higher learning and include some questions for further inquiry and suggestions for supporting inclusivity. It is important to note here, that this study focuses on a hearing instructor and not on deaf individuals. This is important as we support the about us-with us orientations in studying deaf experiences and communities. Family language policy (FLP) is a sociolinguistic field of study interested in processes that affect ideologies, management, practices, and the associated outcomes of language vitality, use, practices, fluency, etc. between the family members and within the family domain where more than one language present through one or more individuals and/or through past settlements, current linguistic environment, and/or any other experience past or present.

Keywords: language socialization; deaf culture; sign language teaching; family language policy; language in institutions of higher learning; linguistic diversity; linguistic inclusivity; visual language teaching and learning


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