Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Dr Ruth Swanwick

Associate Professor in Deaf Education

I am an Associate Professor at Leeds University in the School of Education where I direct all the deaf education research and teaching activities. As a member of the Childhood and Youth Academic Group (CAYAG) my research and teaching activities centre on inclusive education. My particular area of specialism is deaf children’s language and learning and the development of pedagogies and practitioner understanding in deaf education.

Research Interests

I am interested in deaf children's bimodal and bilingual language experience and the use and the role of sign language in education and deaf children’s lives. I have published on deafness and bimodal bilingualism from a teaching and learning perspective and guest edited three Journals ‘special issues’ on this topic. My funded research includes a collaborative ESRC funded project looking at deaf children's early literacy experiences in the home. I led a Nuffield funded project on the role of sign language for deaf children with cochlear implants and a British Academy project on approaches to critical thinking and reflective practice across the national training provision for teachers of the deaf.

My most recent work centres on deaf children’s diverse and plural use of sign and spoken languages: The role of multimodal (trans) languaging in deaf children’s lives and how this facilitates learning. In 2015 I was awarded British Academy Fellowship to take this work forwards. This has opened up a new area of research, opportunities for  international collaborations, publications and impact activities.

I am a member of the Centre for Language Education Research.


I am programme leader for the MA in Deaf Education in the School of Education. This on-line blended distance education programme has recently been re- approved by the DFE to offer the mandatory Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) award.  The programme recruits nationally and prepares suitably qualified deaf and hearing practitioners to work with deaf students across a range of educational settings. I lead the teaching, assessment and evaluation of all aspects of this programme and work with stakeholders and regional tutors to train and support the professional development of teachers of the deaf across the national context.

PhD Supervision

I wish to encourage research students (EdD or PhD) to work with me on topics related to inclusive education, deafness, language and learning, bilingual language development and pedagogies and multimodal communication.


Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Swanwick R, Wright S, Salter J, ‘Investigating deaf children's plural and diverse use of sign and spoken languages in a super diverse context’, Applied Linguistics Review, 7.2 (2016), 117-147
    DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2016-0009, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96882/

  • Swanwick RA, ‘Deaf children’s bimodal bilingualism and education’, Language Teaching, 49.1 (2016), 1-34
    DOI: 10.1017/S0261444815000348, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96878/

  • Swanwick RA, Swanwick R, Clarke P, Kitchen R, ‘A design-based approach for research into deaf children’s reading comprehension’, Hillary Place Papers, 1.1 (2014)

  • Swanwick R, Kitchen R, Jarvis J, McCracken W, O'Neil R, Powers S, ‘Following Alice: theories of critical thinking and reflective practice in action at postgraduate level’, Teaching in Higher Education, 19.2 (2014), 156-169
    DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2013.836099, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96879/

  • Swanwick RA, Kitchen R, Clarke PJ, ‘Practitioner Talk on Deaf Children's Reading comprehension: Analysing Multiple Voices’, Deafness and Education International, 14.2 (2012), 100-120
    DOI: 10.1179/1557069X12Y.0000000007

  • Swanwick RA, Marschark M, ‘Enhancing Education for Deaf Children: Research into Practice and Back Again’, Deafness & Education International,, Vol. 12.No. 4 (2010), 217-235
    DOI: 10.1179/1557069X10Y.0000000002

  • Swanwick RA, ‘Policy and practice in sign bilingual education: development, challenges and directions’, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13.2 (2010), 147-158
    DOI: 10.1080/13670050903474069

  • Watson L, Swanwick R, ‘Parents' and teachers' views on deaf children's literacy at home: do they agree?’, Deafness & Education International, 10.1 (2008), 22-39
    DOI: 10.1002/dei.235

  • Swanwick RA, Watson L, ‘Parents sharing books with young deaf children in spoken English and in BSL: The common and diverse features of different language settings’, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 12.3 (2007), 385-405
    DOI: 10.1093/deafed/enm004


  • Swanwick RA, ‘Scaffolding learning through classroom talk: The role of translanguaging’, in The Oxford handbook of deaf studies in language, ed. by Marschark M and Spencer PE, Oxford Library of Psychology (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96884/

  • Swanwick RA, ‘Re-Envisioning Learning and Teaching in Deaf Education Toward New Transactions Between Research and Practice’, in Educating Deaf Students: Creating a Global Evidence Base, ed. by Marschark M and Knoors H (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 595-613

  • Swanwick R, Hendar O, Dammeyer J, Kristoffersen A-E, Salter J, Simonsen E, ‘Shifting Contexts and Practices in Sign Bilingual Education in Northern Europe: Implications for Professional Development and Training’, in Bilingualism and Bilingual Deaf Education, ed. by Marschark M, Tang G and Knoors H, Perspectives on Deafness (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2014), 292-310
    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199371815.003.0012, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/98750/

Internet publications

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