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A Study of Talk-in-Interaction between a Deaf and Hearing Student in an Inclusion Classroom in Iquitos, Peru

  • Author(s): Goico, Sara Alida
  • Advisor(s): Haviland, John B
  • et al.

In 2010 I conducted nine months of fieldwork in Iquitos, Peru, which consisted of observation, filming, and semi-structured interviews in an inclusion classroom with one deaf student, Estefany. This paper is the first half of a two-part study that addresses the question: How comparable are the communication skills of Estefany and her hearing classmates? This question stems from Vygotsky's theoretical framework that learning occurs through interaction. From this perspective, an investigation of the interactions between Estefany and her classmates speaks to the broader question of the effectiveness of inclusion education for deaf children in Peru.

Using the approach of Conversation Analysis, I analyze one interaction between Estefany and her classmate Luis. Through this microanalysis I demonstrate that Estefany successfully capitalizes on the structural organization of interactions in order to communicate with her classmate. This is most evident in Estefany and Luis' opening sequence. Additionally, I describe some of the elements that characterize Estefany's communication system, focusing largely on the most prevalent of these - indications. Finally, I discuss the closing of Estefany's conversation with Luis. In my conclusion I hypothesize that once the study has been completed, this portion of Estefany's interactions will contrast most sharply with the interactions among her hearing peers. I suggest that Estefany maintains control over the direction of the interchange by closing down her conversations. This results in interactions that consist of a small number of turn exchanges. I propose that Estefany uses this technique so that she is not uncomfortable or confused in the classroom.

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