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

Working One-on-One With Students

Question:
If a deaf student comes to your office hours to clarify a problem that was reviewed in class, how do you work with that student?

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

Neil Hair
Marketing, E. Phillip Saunders College of Business
Photo of Neil HairHi I’m Neil Hair, I’m an Associate Professor of Marketing at the E. Phillip Saunders College of Business. First off I ask them to what extent their impairment is going to prevent them from talking to me as I would do a hearing student and I give them the option, I say look we can go an find an interpreter and we can book that time if you want to, alternatively we can use one of the relay services and things like that or if you prefer and if they feel comfortable, I turn my monitor around and we start typing in a shared document that they can then print off if they want to and have it afterwards its sort of a repository if you like of all the conversation that we’ve had and in the past that’s worked really well because deaf students can type fast and so can I so I don’t see it as necessarily a barrier and there’s a permanent record for them to use as well. Other students prefer to use their phones, so they’ll actually be typing messages on the phone and I’ll be typing a response so it becomes much more free flowing in that regard.

Sharon Mason
Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
Photo of Sharon MasonMy name is Sharon Mason, I’m an associate professor in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. One of the things I really like for students to do since we have a lot of lab based courses is to try and use that lab time, a lot of time we have a few minutes at the beginning or at the end that is flexible and I can work with a student then, because there’s almost always an interpreter available then. But if a student does need to come to my office during office hours or other hours, and there is no interpreter available, I will be sure to do as much as I can on the white board. I try to specifically avoid "yes" and "no" questions, to pose open ended questions to the students, so that I can be sure when they answer those questions that I’m hearing the level of detail that I’m expecting them to have in order to be fully grasping the material. And then I will use my keyboard, a lot, share my keyboard with the student, by just bringing up a text document and typing in answers. And allowing them to type in questions and answers and that seems faster than sometimes writing it on the board or on paper. And then I can just print it and hand it to the student and that seems to work well.

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. Generally when a student comes to my office for help, I start with them the way I start with any student. I ask them what they already know and find out where they got stuck and what they’ve done in order to prepare themselves. Did they go back and look at the notes from class, had they reviewed the worksheets we did in class, have they read the book. Then in terms of communication though, I have a little bit of sign, I can do numbers and things I would need in a statistics course a little bit. And then I rely on the board a lot as well. We use a lot of pictures, I use that with hearing students a lot too, to kind of draw a picture of what we’re talking about and I find that that helps. There are times when we get slowed down the same way, because I have to ask people to repeat themselves because I can’t understand sign that’s going really fast. And I ask a lot of questions and I try to learn too, I’ll ask them to repeat a sign I didn’t know so I might be able to learn it. So I will say it’s slower and it takes a little bit more of give and take. I’ve had people use their phones to type messages to me, those thumbs move really fast, sometimes that's another way we can do that. Sometimes it helps to, I ask people to email me the question ahead of time, so that way I could think about it. And sometimes we just do our work by email, but sometimes it just helps to have that ahead of time in writing so I know what it is you’re having trouble with and I can be a little better prepared when you walk in my office.