Tips for Teaching Students with Hearing Impairments
During the first class of each course, invite students to see you to discuss any needed adaptations in testing, paper writing, deadlines, or classroom arrangements.
Give students with hearing impairments the benefit of your prior planning:
- Early in the term, provide a brief course outline
- Before each class, list on the chalkboard any new vocabulary or specialized terminology
- Some instructors may offer a copy of lecture notes
When interacting with a student who uses an interpreter:
- Allow the interpreter to sit or stand on one side of you where the student can maintain eye contact both with you and the interpreter.
- Speak directly to the student with a hearing loss, not to the interpreter. For example, ask:” DO you have your assigned paper?” rather than “Does she have her paper?”
- Allow time during question-and-answer periods for the student who uses sign language to raise his/her hand, be recognized, and ask the question through the interpreter. The interpreter will voice the question to the instructor and the class, and will then sign the response back to the student.
- Prearrange a system to notify the deaf student if you have to cancel a class so that the interpreter can be cancelled. This is normally done through student’s campus e-mail.
Speak clearly and naturally. Try not to block your mouth with your hands. Avoid standing in front of windows or other light sources. The glare from behind you makes it difficult to read lips and facial expressions. When possible, avoid speaking while facing or writing on the board.
During labs, allow extra time for deaf students to find things that you are pointing out. The student may need to get instructions from the interpreter, locate the materials, and then turn back for the rest of the discussion.
Provide written instructions or announcements, either on paper or on the board, such as test reminders, or any changes in class schedule or location.
Be objective when evaluating written assignments turned in by deaf or hard of hearing students. American Sign Language (ASL) is very different from English. Be patient with the longer-than-average period of adjustment to post-secondary education for students with a disability. These students have a greater-than-average number of systems to work out before they can achieve independence in learning.
Thank you in advance for all of your cooperation.