Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Professor Ruth Swanwick

Professor in Deaf Education and Director of Research and Innovation for the School of Education

I am a Professor at Leeds University School of Education where I lead the deaf education research activities and contribute to the MA in Deaf Education/Teacher of the Deaf Programme.

I am also Director of Research and Innovation in the School of Education. My role is to lead the school research strategy and facilitate ambitious research activity and quality outputs within a dynamic research environment.

Research Interests

My research activities encompass deafness, language and learning, inclusive and bilingual education and teacher development.  My particular area of specialism is deaf children’s language and learning and the development of pedagogies and practitioner understanding in deaf education. I have published extensively on these topics and led funded research projects on deaf children’s literacy development (ESRC); the role of sign language for deaf children with cochlear implants (Nuffield); and approaches to critical thinking and reflective practice in deaf education (British Academy). My most recent work centres on deaf children’s diverse and plural use of sign and spoken languages and the educational support of multilingual deaf children (British Academy Fellowship). I am currently co-convening a seminar series, Signs beyond Bordersthat examines the daily life interactions between deaf and hearing people and leading a national project that focuses on the linguistic and cultural experiences of deaf children of Roma families in the UK.


I teach on the MA Deaf Education Programme. This online blended distance education programme has recently been re- approved by the NCTL 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 contribute to 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 supervise PhD students on topics related to inclusive education, deafness, language and learning, bilingual language development and bilingual pedagogies If you are interested in doing research in any of these areas I would be pleased to hear from you. 


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 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, 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 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


Internet Publications

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