What advice would you give instructors related to setting up student groups to work on projects (both in and out of the classroom)?
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First I would ask the students, the deaf or hard-of-hearing students, what they would prefer. Um, a lot of times, I’ve experienced both, where we’re all in separate groups when it’s hard to communicate with all hearing students. And I’ve also experienced being in an all-deaf group where we don’t quite, uh, complement each other’s skills I guess I would say. So, it really depends on the student so I would ask the student first what they would prefer: if they prefer to be in a group that has all deaf or head of hearing or if they prefer to be in a group that’s hearing. It differs, definitely with each class year. Um, but I know the deaf and hard of hearing in my, in biomedical science, in our major are all very close and we take all of our classes together on purpose because we want to be in the same group so. But I know other years it’s different so it depends on the person.
I understand it’s an important role of group projects to help students learn to work together. From my personal experience, I’m fine with faculty going ahead and assigning students to different groups but understand that if you are in a class where group projects are common, be willing to accept feedback from students because if they feel that communication becomes an issue. From my experience working in an all hearing group and I’m the only deaf student so the interpreter will join us to support the communication process and it’s usually good, but after a while communication becomes difficult so I asked the instructor if you don’t mind on one project could you make a group with other deaf and hard of hearing students who can speak for themselves and sign too so the communication in the group was smooth, more easier for me so the teacher was willing and I appreciate that. Again, it requires consideration of the individual student’s needs, so if you have class and the deaf students can speak for themselves and interact fine then go ahead and group them but the point is to get experience with a variety of different people so go ahead and make a variety of assignments but keep in mind their needs.