Although I only had her for one year, she was always willing to listen to what accommodations I needed, never treating it like a waste of time.
I was the only hearing impaired student she had and she made sure to ask how well I understood any non-captioned video the class had watched. She allowed me to voice my opinions of the treatment of hearing impaired/deaf people in modern society.
Plus, her class was amazing and I’d be hard-pressed to find another English class being so open-ended and allowing of discussion.
So, to her I say: Thank you!!
To all the hard working teachers out there, here are some tips on how to help hard of hearing/deaf students succeed in your classroom
If possible, the best way to handle class discussions is to have everyone sit in a circle. This has always helped me with lip-reading and gives me the best chance to understand my classmates.
Even so, there are times when it’s difficult for us to follow the conversation. I ask that you remember that students like me often don’t not talk because we don’t want to, but because we can’t keep up with the conversation.
It’s helpful if you stand where the student can see you clearly, and face them often during the lecture. It can be frustrating for a hearing impaired student if the teacher is behind them but still talking.
I’ve noticed that its not so much sitting as far in the front as possible that helps me understand the teacher, but instead them standing where I can easily and comfortably lip-read. It really depends on the student, so I encourage both the student and teacher to discuss the best seating arrangement.
Use captions! Enough said. I’m thankful for the teachers that I had that put captions up for all videos, even when I didn’t remind them to.
Of course, this isn’t always possible and I get that! In those situations its best to either provide a typed transcript of the video or allow the student to work with a hearing student to get the notes, if there are any.
While this part is usually the student’s responsibility to initiate, it may need some prompting by you teachers! If a hearing impaired student doesn’t seem to be doing well or is disinterested in the class, talk to them. See what issues they may be having and try to work them out together.
Some things I’ve noticed myself doing in classes where I felt left out/behind: Spacing out, not taking notes, not speaking during class discussions, not asking questions.
Thank you, teachers! Your hard work is much appreciated, and you are influential in many a students life.
Are you a deaf student? What other tips do you have? Are you a teacher? What learning methods do you find work best for hard of hearing students? Let us know in the comments!