Changing the culture and practice when a school adopts a sign language orientation: A reconstructive longitudinal study on changing the orientation framework at one school

Category Project

Ausgangslage und Ziele

Education models oriented towards sign language are rarely implemented in schooling for the deaf in German-speaking Switzerland, or at least they have not been anchored in the curriculum. There are various practical reasons for this, such as a lack of staff, or inadequate skills in sign language and bilingual teaching methods. This project describes the development of one particular school, the Centre for Hearing and Speech in Münchenbuchsee, towards a professional SL-oriented practice. A previous study described the role played by sign language at this Centre (Framework for Orientation, Bohnsack, 2012). To enable other centres to benefit from advice, this project addresses how to implement this process, ways to build on this development, and what aspects influence, facilitate or even inhibit the process.

Project Management

Mireille Audeoud Title Dr. phil.


Senior Researcher


  • Duration
  • Neue Projektnummer

Project Team

Methodical approach

The project is working with the Centre for two years on longitudinal, reconstructive research into the school’s development, recording and analysing discussions among the staff, their everyday practice (communication and actions in teaching practice with video observation). A concept group, including representatives of deaf and hearing teachers, social workers, and speech and hearing therapists, is responsible for designing the sign language teaching. The staff of the Centre receive further training from an external coach over the course of these two years about potential sign language/bilingual teaching models. This will lead to modifications in the orientation framework, the implicit knowledge that guides staff in their actions. Working together with QualiZüri, the data is interpreted with the aid of document analysis so that changes in the orientation framework can be reconstructed.


The current situation is at odds with the requirement in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that the deaf should enjoy equal participation, because access to educational content is not granted on an equal basis. As Switzerland only ratified CRPD last year, teaching models based on sign language or bilingual approaches have not yet been implemented. How to go about this is a pivotal question which all centres must now address and which is examined in this project.


Financial support