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

Working One-on-One With Faculty

Question:
If you need to speak to your instructor after class or during office hours, what strategies do you use to successfully communicate your message or question?

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

Britta Schwall
Business Management
Photo of Britta SchwallI tend to either write or use an interpreter. I want teachers to know that deaf students, deaf and hard of hearing students don’t have the opportunity or the privilege where we can request an interpreter any time, sometimes they are assigned, or unassigned you know so the teacher should be willing to work with the student and meet them half way, write back and forth, their attitude is important so if the student feels insecure to meet with a hearing professor it’s important that the professor to say come on in, sure your welcome here, make that student feel comfortable.

Gabriel Ponte Fleary
Visual Media
Photo of Gabriel Ponte FlearyAgain, interpreters with us we depend on them 100% of the time. I experienced after a class I met with the interpreter and asked her if they mind staying after class and they said fine so we sat down with the professor. If the interpret cannot stay I will ask the professor to be patient while we try to communicate and we will write back and forth. It won’t be an easy flowing conversation, but just try your best. Some professors know a little sign language. They can do very basic signs; like baby signs. We can just write back and forth and we will make it smooth communication.

Emmanuel Perrodin-Njoku
Biomedical Science
Photo of Emmanuel Perrodin-NjokuOften I tend to, and we’re talking about here at RIT, request the department of access services to provide an interpreter. I will contact the professor well in advance about a week in advance and I tell them I would like to meet with them next week, that’s fine so we make an appointment and I request an interpreter and they tend to have someone available to assign but in a situation where it’s last minute and they don’t mind meeting right after class I tend to write back and forth if I’m familiar with the teacher and the teacher is willing and I can speak for myself a little bit but it’s not great and often the instructor is willing to write on the board to make sure that we communicate clearly then we move forward and it’s fine but most of the time I tend to request an interpreter.

Kyle Morris
Communication
Photo of Kyle MorrisHearing teachers should know that RIT has many deaf people, students and faculty and they should be aware that we are all allowed to request an interpreter or write notes back and forth use a computer to type messages or use gestures as long as the hearing person isn’t exaggerating like “can you read lips” don’t do that, just do what’s normal for themselves, I would suggest that. And don’t discount other deaf students like, oh that’s no good, you can’t speak and you don’t have an interpreter so I’m sorry you’ll have to make an appointment for another time, just take advantage of the opportunity to meet now. For a deaf teacher, it should be the same. They shouldn’t discount a student who doesn’t know sign language, don’t discount them, they should be treated fairly, just say so you don’t sign so let’s use gestures to communicate, do what you can to meet their needs. That’s your role as a teacher to help and make sure students are successful in the future, not just in class but the future.

Emily Lederman
Computer Science
Photo of Emily LedermanActually, office hours are really nice because typically the offices are, you know, they’re very small so I’ll be sitting, like, you know, like right in front of my professor and it’s a one-on-one, like, environment. So, like, I can, like, understand, like, clearly what they are saying because they’re just put right in front of me. And so, if I need something to be repeated like I’ll just ask and so I just be sure that, you know, we’re all in the visual, straight-forward environment.