What two tips would you give an instructor who is teaching deaf and hard of hearing students for the first time?
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I would suggest an instructor take advantage of the white board or any resource that is very visible for their students to follow. For example, math equations should be written on the white board, don’t just lecture about them. It’s hard for the interpreter to interpret exactly the right terms. Vocabulary should also be written on the board as much as possible.
I would say just, for professors to engage with us, I feel sometimes they’re a little hesitant to call on us or answer our question. But it’s just kind of, like, just answer like any normal student would or ask us anything any normal student would. It’s just like don’t look at us as different.
First, be supportive of the deaf students. Understand that we may need a little more help. We’re the same as other people, the same except we just can’t hear. Sometimes during class, it can be difficult. Also, deaf people struggle with language, it depends on the country they came from, here we depend on English. ASL grammar is different from English so sometimes we really struggle, we may not understand some words so because of that we may need some help, need some support. Technically it’s like that, so be patient, be supportive, be willing to learn our culture and our language. That is really valued!
First off I think I would say please be patient. Be willing to learn about the various needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. Not all deaf and hard of hearing students are the same, some depend on interpreters, others depend on captionists, others can hear you but depend on seeing you speak clearly. Be willing to learn about all of their different needs. That’s the most important advice I have in my opinion.
I would suggest that new faculty prepare to work with deaf and hard of hearing students, to understand what their needs are for access. If they are oral or deaf, not all deaf students use sign so some may use their voice, others may use an interpreter or c-print. If they can sign and voice that’s fine, just make sure that there is access for all deaf students. So really the number one priority is communication, clear communication.
I would suggest them to try and face the students because it’s hard for them to read your lips. They, like, depend on reading lips. And also, the other thing, try to avoid standing by the window or someplace because the lighting is hard to read lips.