Teaching Strategies for Students with a Hearing Impairment
This information is available to download in a word document - Strategies to help students with a Hearing Impairment.
These guidelines may be useful to teachers and students when working together to accommodate hearing impairments or deafness.
- Making Reasonable Adjustments
- Teaching Aids
- Ideal Classroom Organisation
- Group Discussions/Tutorials
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If a deaf or hard of hearing student satisfies the entrance requirements for a course, then all "reasonable adjustments" must be made to enable that student to complete the course, such as:
- Providing interpreters and/or notetakers
- Adjusting pace or class work plan to allow the interpreter to perform their duties
- Arranging for alternative assessment or information in other formats
- Talk directly to the person and not to the interpreter.
- Speak clearly and concisely.
- Use normal speech and language with a normal tone, rate and loudness.
- Use facial expressions and gestures.
- There is no need to use exaggerated lip movements.
- Use sentences/phrases and not single words. Isolated words are difficult for the hearing impaired person to understand as without contextual clues meaning is limited.
- Be careful not to obscure your mouth when speaking. Keep your hands away from your face.
- Rephrase rather than continue to repeat.
- Cue the student into conversations, "We were talking about…"
- Be aware of gaining the student's attention when beginning new dialogue.
- Sounds such as k, t, n and ng cannot be detected from lip movements. Words such as fan and van, park and bark are easily seen, but almost impossible to differentiate.
- Take the opportunity to work closely with the student.
- Encourage the student to use a friend to clarify/reinforce instructions.
- Use a notepad and write your message.
- Use finger spelling or sign language.
- Be open with the student.
- Be aware of student attitudes.
- Discuss with the student ways in which a more effective learning and teaching environment can be provided.
- Use visual presentations as much as possible e.g. diagrams, writing definitions/key words/formulas on the blackboard.
- Avoid uncaptioned videos or tape recordings.
- Lip reading and watching signing can be exhausting, so avoid student strain and fatigue by alternating between discussion and reading/activity time.
- When using an overhead projector face the group when speaking and do not talk to the screen. Provide copies of notes and overheads in advance.
- Face the class/hearing impaired student when instructing rather than the blackboard.
- Have the light on your face when you are speaking, i.e. not standing with your back to the window.
- Try to avoid walking around the room while teaching.
- Ensure the seating arrangements allow the hearing impaired student to be proximate to and see clearly the person/s speaking to the class. A circular or 'U' shape may be best.
- For a student with a unilateral hearing loss (one ear) it is vital that the student's unimpaired ear is directed towards the speaker.
- Be aware of background noise e.g. traffic/gardening/ adjacent classes/passage noise. Where possible use a carpeted room to reduce peripheral noise.
Group discussions and tutorials are often difficult settings for a hearing impaired student. The following may be helpful:
- Arrange seating so that as many faces as possible are visible to the deaf student.
- Indicate the speaker by pointing to new speakers.
- Repeating/rephrasing comments may be necessary.
- The student could tape discussions to be transcribed at a later time.