Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Research Students

Dr Ruth Swanwick

Associate Professor in Deaf Education

I am an Associate Professor in Deaf Education and a member of the Childhood and Inclusive Education Academic Team. My research and teaching centres on deafness, language and learning and the development of pedagogies and professional understanding in deaf education. I am particularly interested in bimodal bilingual learning in deaf children and what this area of research can contribute to modern language teaching and research. 

Research Interests

My research centres on deafness, language and learning and the development of pedagogies and practitioner understanding. I am interested in deaf children's bimodal and bilingual language experience and the use and the role of sign language in education. I have published on deafness and 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 current work centres on the development of a theoretical model of bimodal bilingualism and learning which situates deafness and language learning within a plural view of language and culture in society. I have secured a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to take this work forwards.  


I am programme leader for the MA in Deaf Education in the School of Education. I teach and assess all of the modules for this programme and coordinate regional training and support for the programme tutors. The MA in Deaf Education is an on-line distance education course leading to the mandatory Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) qualification. This programme recruits nationally and prepares suitably qualified deaf and hearing practitioners to work with deaf students across a range of educational settings.

PhD Supervision

I wish to encourage research students (EdD or PhD) to work with me on topics related to deafness, language and learning. This includes deaf children’s language development, literacy, learning and bimodal bilingual pedagogies as well as the development of professional roles and expertise in deaf education.

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Swanwick, R., Kitchen, R., Jarvis, J., McCracken, W., O'Neil, R., & and Powers, S., ‘Following Alice: theories of critical thinking and reflective practice in action at postgraduate level’, Teaching in Higher Education, 2013, 1-14
    DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2013.836099

  • Swanwick RA, Kitchen R and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and others, ‘A design-based approach for research into deaf children’s reading comprehension’, Hillary Place Papers, 1.1


  • Swanwick RA and others, ‘Shifting contexts and practices in sign bilingual education in northern Europe’, in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, ed. by Marschark M, Knoors H and Tang G (Oxford University Press, 2014), 465-494

Internet publications

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