As summer vacation dwindles to a close, you may be wondering how your college classroom might look this coming semester. Each semester presents different obstacles for college professors, sometimes throwing in an unexpected change to the way you need to present your lessons to your classes. If you’ve never had a hearing-impaired student in one of your classes, learning how to accommodate their learning needs might be difficult. You’ll need to reassess how you present your material, contact, and hire an interpreter and rethink how group work can be done.
Accommodating the needs of hearing-impaired students is essential to their success in college. If you are a professor who is expecting to teach a deaf student, you should consider taking some of these action steps to ensure they have an equal chance of succeeding in your class.
Accommodate for visual learners
Prepare an outline for each lesson
Send out a summary of your lesson plans before each class session. Students will be able to read over the material before your lesson begins, which will help them follow your lecture more closely. They will know what to expect from your lesson and the main topics that will be discussed each day.
Utilize visual presentations
Use detailed and creative slides that present your key points in writing. You can also utilize whiteboards by writing keywords and definitions down so that hearing-impaired students understand which concepts are most important. Lecturing without visual material will make it hard for hearing-impaired students to stay engaged. If you have your presentation in PDF, you can change PDF to PPT format to enhance accessibility and engagement, ensuring that your presentations cater to a diverse range of learning needs.
Leave open seats in the front row
Students with hearing impairments need to be seated closer to the front to ensure that their view is unobstructed. They should have a clear view of you and the interpreter at all times. This enables students to simultaneously see your presentation, read your body language, and view the interpreter.
If you are able, try to rearrange your classroom’s desks into a circle. This allows hearing-impaired students to view the entire classroom at once. It enables them to locate student speakers and helps them to interact with their classmates more often. Circle arrangements create a more inclusive environment in which hearing-impaired students can engage with you and their fellow students.
You can also look into transcription services for students. Companies like Transcripts Outsourcing work specifically with college students, which ensures that they have a good handle on properly using common college lingo and jargon. Your students will be able to focus on taking in the information from you and the interpreter during class without worrying about taking down notes. Transcript services work to type out and send the lecture notes to your students in a timely manner to allow them to study them before any impending exams.
Interviews and doctoral research
Transcript services are also useful for students doing extensive research. You should suggest this type of service to your hearing-impaired students if you require in-person interviews or research for your term papers. Transcript services can also be useful for organizing your student’s research for doctoral dissertations. They can summarize and organize your student’s research to enable them to write their dissertations more effectively.
Hearing-impaired students often have their own unique ways of learning. They understand the steps that they need to take to learn in a classroom environment. They may come to you for additional help or have specific needs that you should take into consideration.
Students are aware of the ways that they learn best in a classroom setting and may offer additional suggestions that will aid them in succeeding in your class. You should do your best to honor their requests.
You can also expect them to request one-on-one sessions with you to ensure that their notes match up with your lessons. They also may want to meet with you to ensure that the main points they took away from your lectures align with what you believe were the key points of each lesson.
If you expect to have a hearing-impaired student in your classroom this fall, you should be aware of their needs and be ready and willing to help them succeed.