Technology and English Language Teaching to Deaf Students

According to Mattar (2010), Prensky (2010) and Frei et al (2011), the use of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in different educational spaces has been helping the teaching of foreign languages since the 90s – when computers became more common in foreign language classes.

In this regard, Paiva (2001) considers that ICTs bring advantages: variety of information, multimedia environment, the possibility of non-linear reading, diversity of material.

When I conducted research that sought to verify the possibility of written fluency in the English language by the deaf, I came across very few productions in the stricto sensu level, only one of which brought some of the Internet’s contribution to teching deaf students. This highlights the fact that the existing literature regarding this subject is very limited.

According to Moraes and Cavalcanti (2015), in the case of the deaf, fluency in a new language can be widely used in Internet usage situations where they can interact with deaf and hearing from other countries in Chat rooms, blogs and social networking sites.

On the occasion of my research, I expected students to show a good performance in written English, which has been achieved. Thus, this work has put me before a reality which I thought would be more complex than it proved to be.

The choice of the social networking site to be used in the classroom greatly facilitated the participation of the subjects who – motivated the proposal – invested more in communication with colleagues and deaf people from other countries, as well as with me. The communication in English with people from different cultures has allowed them to learn the signs language spoken in those countries.

Putting deaf people in control of learning and using the Internet as a tool, I could identify improvement in the participants’ fluency from the interest they had shown in the access and permanence on the website, showing an expansion of vocabulary. On that occasion, they showed an expansion of vocabulary from the previous knowledge they had brought into the classroom but also from the occurrence of new words during the interaction. These words were looked up in online picture dictionaries and search engines.



Freai, S. et al. (2011) Integrating technology into the curriculum. Huntington beach, CA: Shell Education.

Mattar, J. (2010) Games em educação: como os nativos digitais aprendem. São Paulo: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Moraes, A. H. C. & Cavalcanti, W. M. (2015) Tecnologias e língua estrangeira: reflexões sobre o ensino de inglês para surdos. In: Cidrim, L.; Costa, S. C. (orgs) Tecnologias da Informação e Comunicação (TIC) Aplicadas às Ciências da Linguagem. Curitiba: Editora CRV.

Paiva, V.L.M.O. (2001) A www e o ensino de Inglês. Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada. Volume 1, number 1, pp.93-116.

Prensky, M. (2010) Teaching digital natives: partnering for real learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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Antonio Coutelo

Antonio Coutelo - Graduated in Portuguese and English Languages by the Catholic University of Pernambuco (2009), holds an MSc degree in Language from the Catholic University of Pernambuco (2012) and is now pursuing his doctoral degree. He currently lectures at the Catholic University of Pernambuco and researches the following subjects: foreign language, English, deaf, teaching-learning and Brazilian Sign Language.

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