In the last 40 years, there has been a shift in where deaf and hard-of-hearing (d/hh) students have been educated (Foster & Cue, 2009), with a majority of d/hh students now spending at least part of their school day in the general education classroom instead of residential or day-schools for the deaf. Many of these students receive specialized support from an itinerant teacher. D/hh children have unique language needs due to their access (or lack thereof) to natural language for acquisition purposes. Insufficient access to language, ASL or English, may be due to: delays in identification and/or amplification, auditory input being partial, and/or the lack of fluent sign language models (Strassman & Schirmer, 2012). D/hh students’ language proficiency has rippling effects, impacting their literacy, both reading and writing, and subsequently all subject areas. With d/hh students needing support for writing, especially given that state standards and national teaching organizations have emphasized the incorporation of writing in content areas (Gabriel & Dostal, 2015), itinerant teachers need to be prepared to provide writing instruction that meets the needs of d/hh students in this teaching context. The purpose of this study was to examine how Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), a writing framework developed for instruction with d/hh students that is typically modeled in a classroom setting, was implemented by two itinerant teachers and if they found a need to adapt any components of the framework for their context. After analyzing video footage of a full unit of instruction, multiple interviews, and artifacts from each teacher, I found that the itinerant teachers’ instruction was not inherently different from their training. I also found that both teachers addressed their students’ theory of mind needs in different ways, and desired instruction and support in this area. While the participants worked with students using different modes of communication in districts with differing levels of support, both teachers expressed similar context-specific factors that impacted their implementation of SIWI, which were: time, district-specific variables, supporting writing in the general education classroom, and physical space/organization. Based on the findings, recommendations are provided.
SIWI in an itinerant teaching setting: Contextual factors impacting instruction