© A. Etges/Mercator-Institut

Second Language Acquisition

of Newly Immigrated d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing students

Despite being a worldwide concern, there is a dearth of research regarding the linguistic development and education of newly immigrated d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing (Dhh) students. This is especially true for Germany. New immigrant schoolchildren in Germany are in general educated without robust information about their different learning trajectories, language profiles, instructional interventions, and language acquisition of German; for Dhh learners, this is especially true, and there exists to date no information on the development of their written and spoken language skills in German or in the heritage language(s) nor on their acquisition of German Sign Language (DGS). Thus, there is not only a clear gap in research on a group that is both under-researched and under-supported due to the extenuating circumstances associated with their migration and second language acquisition, but also a clear gap in the training of teachers who teach them and the development of learning materials.

The current project sets three objectives. First, an exploratory research project examines language instruction for this group of learners with the goal of ascertaining general information about the classroom situation. Second, teacher training will be strengthened in the Master's program for Special Education students with this specialty (Förderschwerpunkt Hören und Kommunikation), including interdisciplinary work both in Special Education and in the mandatory courses on German as an Additional Language (DaZ). Third, an interdisciplinary cooperation will be initiated to further interlink the areas of DaZ and Special Education in teaching and research.

At a glance


The aims of the project are to gain general information about the classroom situation of newly immigrated d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, to strengthen the teacher training in the Master's program for Special Education students with this specialty (Förderschwerpunkt Hören und Kommunikation) and to intensify the interdisciplinary work between the areas of Special Education and DaZ in teaching and research at the University of Cologne.

Funded by

Innovationspool Sonderpädagogik


April 2021 – March 2024

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Nicole Marx
Dr. Jürgen Wessel (Department of Pedagogy for the d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing, University of Cologne)

Project Team

Linnea Rauer
Maike Beyer
Sophie Begon (until 2023)
Carolin Friebe (reserch assistant)
Marisa Klemt (until 2021)
Laura Knapp (research assistant)
Nele Kösler (student assistant)
Lisa Röseler