Site-wide links

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

Top Ten Teaching Tips

Tips collected from RIT faculty and students:

  1. Treat all students equally. Every student that registers for your class is there to learn. Hearing, deaf, hard-of-hearing, international, they all have the same hopes and dreams, strengths and challenges. Deaf and hard of hearing students just communicate in a different way.
  2. Get to know the deaf students in your class. Meet with students after class with the help of the interpreter or individually in your office. Ask them about their goals and dreams, how they feel about the class and any concerns they may have. Your interaction with students lets them know that they are recognized as equally as any other student in the class. You just have to make the effort!
  3. Have PowerPoint and lecture notes available to students before class. This helps all students come to class prepared, and gives a context for the class discussions. It is also helpful to give support faculty, interpreters, captionists and notetakers access to “myCourses” so that everyone engaged with the deaf students will be prepared and well informed.
  4. Slow down! A rapid pace of instruction is one of the top concerns identified by deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students. Everyone benefits when the delivery is slower.
  5. Allow deaf students to have priority to sit in the first few rows in class. Clear sight lines are important for successful, unobstructed communication between the teacher, interpreter and the deaf students. Oral students who depend on lip reading also benefit from sitting in the front.
  6. When planning group work or projects, don’t assume that all deaf students should be placed together in the same group. Well before you establish your groups, ask students privately for their preferences in group assignments, and their specific communication needs. (interpreter, captionist or notetaker). This will minimize problems in and out of the classroom and provide a solid foundation for the work to be done as a group.
  7. Use myCourses and other forms of technology to give students easy access to class notes, PowerPoint slides, lecture notes, your syllabus, assignments and project descriptions/requirements. Be creative! The opportunities to share information through technology are endless.
  8. Make friends with the interpreter, c-print captionist and/or notetaker in your class. These professionals are the first line of support to provide a successful learning environment in your class. They not only provide access to communication, but can answer questions you may have about working effectively with the deaf students registered in your class. Ask for feedback….are you going too fast or too slow?
  9. Be aware of “process time” (aka. lag time), which is the time required to process information into another language.
  10. Avoid the use of “this, that, these and those” when describing procedures or concepts in your lecture. Use the proper name of the item you are referring to so that the students can make the connection to a prior lecture or incorporate a new term into their learning experience. Avoid the use of acronyms, which are very challenging for deaf students whose first language may not be English.