Systematization of bilingual education models at German-Swiss centres for hearing and language

Category Project

Ausgangslage und Ziele

In the education of children with hearing loss in the German-speaking region of Switzerland, there are few models of bilingual education with a spoken or written language and a signed language (school subjects and/or language of instruction)—at least few that are anchored in the curriculum. However, with ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the centres for hearing and language are called upon to develop and offer a bilingual educational programme. Evidence-based descriptions of bilingual education models are rarely if ever published in the literature and are thus not available as support to centres starting to implement such models. What is needed is a systematization of models, with descriptions of the necessary educational and language-specific practice and the educational goals for hearing learners and learners with hearing loss. The models differ primarily in the relative emphases on spoken and sign language in everyday instruction. This means that it is important to examine precisely what types of communication acts (explain, report, instruct, etc.) are conducted in which language, and what the weighting/prioritization is.

Project Management

Mireille Audeoud Title Dr. phil.


Senior Researcher


  • Duration
  • Neue Projektnummer

Project Team


The research questions are the following:

  • What types of communications are conducted in which language in everyday school life and instruction? What is the level of the signed language communications by hearing teachers in everyday school life?
  • What bilingual education models are already being followed in everyday practice?
  • What are the implicit and explicit bilingual educational aims on the part of directors and staff at the centres?

Methodical approach

In this research project, we will develop a first systematization of bilingual education models. The focus will be on already practised spoken and signed communications in everyday school life and instruction; by means of open observation of communications in different teaching situations (team teaching, instruction by one teacher), we will work out specific communications for bilingual instruction. These will be presented to the centre teachers in a group interview, and the participants will say what implicit education model stands behind them. In addition, from a meta-perspective we will discuss with centre directors what education models are based on what educational aims.


The results will produce the first ever description and systematization of possible bilingual education aims and models in the German-speaking region of Switzerland—a first in the German-speaking countries. This systematization will explain different models having different weightings of spoken language and sign language. The description of the models will offer other centres a chance to professionalize, to take up sign language in their concept, and thus to meet the requirements of the UN CRPD. Interest in this field is very high, because up to now, no descriptions of models have been available.


Financial support