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

Classroom Communication

What strategies do you incorporate to ensure the deaf and hard of hearing students have equal opportunity to be fully engaged in class discussions?

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

Eileen Feeney Bushnell
Foundation Program, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
Photo of Eileen BushnellHi my name is Eileen Feeney Bushnell I’m an Associate Professor and I teach in the foundation program in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. Deaf students and hearing students are responsible for the communication, in other words sight lines deaf students need to move to the front, hearing students need to stay out of the way and the 10 second rule was a big one for me that took a long time for me to… well the NTID support staff in my college finally gave me a little stuffed beany baby toy and what it means is after you ask a question, the person who is asking or answering needs to hold it and it helps them to recognize that they need to wait so that the interpreter can get the question across to the deaf or hard of hearing students and then everybody has an equal opportunity to respond.

Carol Marchetti
Statistics, College of Science
Photo of Carol MarchettiHi, I’m Carol Marchetti. I’m associate professor of Statistics in the College of Science. The first thing that I would do during a lecture is to make sure that when I ask a question or ask for input that I wait because I need to allow for the lag time that occurs, you know, for an interpreter to actually sign my question, or a C-Print person to type it in. And so I try to wait and make sure everyone has an opportunity to respond. And not just call on the first person who raises their hand, right, or take the first answer that someone might shout out and be done, because then by the time, your deaf students can miss out on it all together.

Carol Fillip
Graphic Design, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
Photo of Carol PhillipI'm Carol Fillip from CIAS and I'm an Assistant Professor of graphic design. With my design students, they will be working on a project and many times we all hang them up and then we all have to talk about them. The thing is, is that it’s what we do so there’s always classroom discussion, it’s not just a lecture class a lot of times it’s someone standing up in front of the class and lecturing. So what I do which I think is beneficial for all the students and it’s not just the deaf and hard of hearing I think having things written down on paper so what I do is I come up with a list of questions that is directly related to the objectives of the project and I have students rotate around the classroom and a lot of time I have them working collaboratively, sometimes independently and they write written comments on everybody’s work and so after that’s done then each student sits back down in their spot and reads the comments and I go around the room and force them to talk about so it’s nice because it’s almost like they have a cheat sheet to go by and somehow they don’t seem intimidated. I do it for a lot of different reasons but it’s a struggle getting especially freshmen and sophomores, any freshmen and sophomores to talk about their work and to be an active participant in the classroom discussions so I think it’s good advice for anybody teaching any student.


What do you do when you are ready to start class and the interpreter has not shown up?

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

Mike Floesner
Golisano College in the Information Science and Technologies
Photo of Mike FloesnerI'm Michael Floeser, I work over in the Golisano College in the Information Science and Technologies Department. Besides the little panic at the beginning? Okay, first of all, I have them on speed-dial. So I call over and say, "What's going on?" If there is something that we can do like a class exercise, I'll put that first. We can start something like that. We can work on previous projects because most of my classes are in computer-based rooms, so they can work on that. Group projects, if there's any group projects, we can work on that. Or I do really bad sign language, they laugh at me. And class continues.

Mike Palanski
Management and Leadership, Saunders College of Business
Photo of Mike PalanskiHi, I'm Dr. Mike Palanski. I'm in the Saunders College of Business, I teach Management and Leadership classes. Well fortunately that’s only happened once or twice. What I try to do is to write down on my syllabi, which I always take with me to class, the number for access services so if an interpreter doesn’t show up we can make a quick phone call and request a replacement. And the one or two times that it’s happened they’ve been able to get someone over within 5 or 10 minutes usually. However, I don’t wait, I start class allowing a little bit of time at the end to maybe make sure that everyone is comfortable and didn’t miss anything