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Supporting Effective Teaching Experiences with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Tips For Teachers

Question:
What two tips would you give an instructor who is teaching deaf and hard of hearing students for the first time?

Click on the images below to see video of the student's comments.

Jon Weintraub
Finance, College of Business
My name is Jon Weintraub, I’m a finance student in from the College of Business. I think that teachers really need to be little bit more proactive to find more visual methods in trying to help their students. A lot of times professors get a little bit confused, they think that the interpreters or the C-Print captionists are telling them one thing. It might not interpret to them the same way the teacher is trying to interpret them. I think if they provide a visual diagram or a visual representation of the material I think the other students will understand it a lot better.

Chelsea Bruha
MBA, Saunders College of Business
Hi, my name is Chelsea Bruha, I’m an MBA student here in the Saunders College of Business. There’s no one size fits all for this type of situation. It’s the same as hearing students. There’s different teaching methods that work for them, some of them work for them and some work for others. There’s no one size fits all that I can tell you is exactly the right thing to do for all of the deaf students in your class. However, it’s important to be open minded. It’s important to be willing to work with their needs. I recommend talking to them after class the first day of class and asking them what do you need? What do you want me to do? Is there anything that I can do before class maybe giving you the Powerpoints before class, things like that can help them get the information that they need. Secondly, being aware of the acoustics of the room. I think that that is really important. Making sure that there is carpet on the floor to absorb the sound, making sure that the lighting is just right, that you are not standing in front of a window where the sun is blaring and you can’t see their face. Little things like that are important for deaf students and if they can’t see you or hear you or understand you that will affect the information, they won’t understand the information that you are giving them.

Tyler Swob
Applied Math, College of Science
Hi my name is Tyler Swob and I am a 3rd year applied math major in the College of Science. As classes become harder and harder, a wonderful way for new teachers to help deaf students is to make it clear that they are willing to review the notes that have just been taken, either right after class ends or during a break to make sure that information is not missing or if the notes are too vague then they can be adjusted immediately. That way deaf students understand completely and are sure they haven’t missed anything. The second tip I would like to suggest is that the teacher should let the deaf students know during the first class, either after class ends or during the break, that if they don’t understand something or don’t feel comfortable during the lecture that they should feel free to meet with him to ask questions. Some deaf students don’t feel comfortable approaching the teacher, so those are two tips I would suggest to new teachers.

Candice Matthews
Mechanical Engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
I’m Candice Matthews, I’m a mechanical engineering student from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. The first tip I would give is, a lot of times when teachers write, they write on the board and they pause and talk into it, because I read lips it’s very hard for me to know what they’re saying, when they’re talking away from me. So it’s a lot easier for me to keep up and understand if the teacher writes on the board and turns to face the class and explain what they wrote. A lot of times I miss out on the actual explanation because I can’t see their face. Another tip that I would give them is often times teachers will walk around the classroom and sometimes they’ll walk right past me, and I’ll be just like...they’ll walk right by and I don’t know what they’re saying with their back's turned to me.

Andrew Donald
Biomedical Science, College of Health Science and Technology
My name is Andrew Donald and I am majoring in biomedical science in the College of Health Science and Technology. The most important thing that new faculty should know about deaf students is that we are very visual. I feel that new teachers seem awkward about how they should work with deaf students. I would recommend that they demonstrate what they are teaching with pictures, Powerpoint slides, draw on the board as much as they can. I am a science major and in some specific classes you are expected to learn very detailed procedures, from start to finish. I would suggest that new teachers draw everything out, so that students can look at the board and easily understand each step in the procedure. Sometimes, I take my own notes on important information that’s discussed in class and while I’m looking down to write I miss something that the interpreter has just said so it’s helpful for me to be able to look at the board and figure out what the teacher is discussing. Another problem for deaf students is if the teacher focuses on only lecturing, there are no visuals at all then that information goes right over my head. Having some Powerpoint slides that list the important points of the lecture are helpful because we can then use that as a reference as you expand on each point.

Sara Gluck
Biology, College of Science
I'm Sarah Gluck, I'm biology major in the College of Science. I would say the first one would be to not make presumptions about levels of hearing loss or a student’s ability to communicate. I’ve had teachers who thought I had perfect hearing and I’ll be walking right next to them and they’ll be talking really fast and not looking at me and I’ll need to address that. And I’ve had professor’s mouth at me without speaking and that’s just confusing to me. It throws me off and I’m like what? I’m confused. So definitely not making presumptions about that kind of thing and talking with the students and feeling free to ask “do you need me to speak up” and that kind of thing. Also I would saying being for me, I’ve gone into classrooms and my C-Print computer would be set up in the back of the classroom and the teacher would be in the front and I’m like why am I not in the front where the teacher is. I think being attentive to where deaf and hard of hearing students are sitting in the classroom and if that allows them to have the best access to the information. I’d say definitely paying attention to that would be helpful.