Tips for Teaching


Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Many individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing rely more upon visual input than upon auditory input when communicating. Learning to use the visual aspects of communication (ie. body language, gestures and facial expression) is essential in order to effectively communicate with students who are deaf of hard of hearing. The following is a list of suggestions for enhancing classroom learning for these students:

  1. Make sure you have a deaf student's attention before speaking. A light touch on the shoulder, a wave, or other visual signal will help.
  2. Offer the student preferential seatings. The student should be seated in such a way that she/he can get as much from visual and auditory cues as possible. Such a position is generally near the front of the classroom, however, a student may have an individual preference.
  3. Don't talk with your back to the class, as when writing on the blackboard. It destroys any chance of the student getting facial or speech reading cues.
  4. When showing slides, movies, or videos, it is helpful if an outline or summary of the materials to be covered is provided.
  5. When questions are asked from the class, it would be of great help if the questions are repeated before answering, or phrase the answer in such a way that the questions are obvious.
  6. Beware of giving procedural information while handing out papers. Loss of eye contact may mean loss of information. Likewise, allow time for reading materials which are passed out before beginning any discussion of those materials.
  7. Recognize that the student may have need of a notetaker for your class. When you are "listening" with your eyes, via lipreading or the use of a sign language interpreter, it is difficult to take good notes simultaneously.
  8. English is actually a second language for many students who are deaf or hard of hearing. When grading written assignments and/or essay tests, it is important to emphasize accurate and comprehensive content rather than writing styles.

    If you have any questions, please contact the Advisor for Disability Support Services.