Gary Morgan Deaf Learners National Conference Workshop Facilitator
Published: Apr 9th, 2013
Transcript of the video
How did I start my research?
I have a background in Psychology, which I studied at University. At that time, there was one lecturer who taught a course about Deaf children’s development, which focussed on their language, thinking skills, education – a wide range of topics, and as I began to learn more, I found it a very interesting topic, and one which I was drawn to. Later I started to learn sign language, at Manchester Deaf Centre in the late 1990s. I decided I wanted to learn more, and began a PHD at Bristol Universities Centre for Deaf Studies. I began research there into Language Development relating to storytelling/narratives.
I began to research into how Deaf children at different ages learnt how to tell stories – and how their skills in telling and understanding narratives improved, for example the use of perspectives, and how stories have to show different perspectives, and how you can change the perspective. Later, I began to teach Psychology at University. I have more time to research now that I am the manager of a research centre called DCAL. I am responsible for all research that focuses on Deaf children – how they learn, their memory, their emotional development, – a wide range of topics. My experience is quite varied – I have a lot of contact with universities, but at the same time I try to have a lot of contact with the Deaf community, teachers, professionals, Speech and Language therapists, Audiologists, parents etc, so I have a lot of contacts with both communities.
What area of work currently interests you?
Good question! I am currently very interested in Social Cognition, which means investigating how two people can understand each other’s perspectives, understand what the other is thinking and feeling – their wants, their wishes – how they can understand each other. I am supervising one person’s PHD at Sheffield University who is interested in Lying and how Deaf children learn to lie compared to just making a mistake. Another project is looking at Deaf children’s ability to recognise real or fake emotions, for example if someone is laughing but really they feel sad, but they are putting on a brave face, and how you can tell by their facial expression or the context that this is not a real emotion, but a fake one.
What are the current needs in Deaf education?
There are many things that Deaf education needs, but for me there are two main priorities. There needs to be proper research done and evidence collected on the effect of bilingual education whether it has a positive, negative or no effect on Deaf children’s educational level. With Deaf schools closing, cochlear implantation and early diagnosis of Deaf babies, the experience of deaf people is changing at the moment, and there needs to be research to collect evidence into what effect these changes have on their education, their emotions, parenting skills etc.
How can people get involved?
The DCAL Research Centre get approached by many people who want to be involved in working for us as interns, young students – some with signing skills, but many do not sign and that is one way of getting involved in the research. You can email the university and say that you would like to be based at the centre for how long you want – one week, two weeks, one or two months, so that you can observe the work we do and help out on the various projects, so you can get a greater understanding of what’s involved in research – I think that’s a good way to learn. Thank you and goodbye.
Gary Morgan is the manager of the UCL Deafness, Cognition and Language research centre (DCAL), and Professor of Linguistics at UCL. He has a background in psychology and has many interests, amongst them the future of deaf education. He will be giving a workshop at the Deaf Learners Conference in May – ‘Linguistic needs of Deaf learners in Education.’
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