The Commons

Helpful tips for instructors with deaf or hard of hearing students:

  • Use the blackboard or PowerPoint to present new information in a visual way.
  • New vocabulary should be presented in print as well as verbal form.
  • Identify speakers during group discussions to enable students to follow and participate in discussions.
  • Minimize movements which distract or block the student's view of you.
  • Provide students with an outline of the class format so they can follow the process.
  • Address the student directly.
  • If the student works with an oral or sign language interpreter, look directly at the student, not the interpreter, when talking. The interpreter will sign what is being said. It is important that you watch the student's expressions in response to their statements and questions. assist in communication.
  • When using interpreters, ensure that only one person is speaking at a time so the interpreter can sign the conversation.
  • Speak at a normal rate. Do not exaggerate the movement of your mouth in an effort to clarify. This helps the interpreter and the student. The interpreter is there to relay messages back and forth.
  • If feelings are expressed the interpreter is obligated to interpret what is said.
  • It may be necessary to recruit a hearing student to be a note taker for the deaf/hard of hearing student during class lectures. Accessibility Services may ask for your assistance in finding or naming student suitable for this task.

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What is an Educational Interpreter? arrow View
An educational interpreter is a person hired to facilitate communication between a deaf/hard of hearing student and hearing individuals in a classroom setting.

The educational interpreter is responsible for "translating" the spoken message into a signed message and the signed message into a spoken one.

The interpreter will sign to the student everything that is said by the instructor and/or other students or guests in the classroom. The interpreter will also speak to express what the student signs so that other students are able to understand.

It has been demonstrated that the presence of an interpreter in a classroom does not have a detrimental effect on the instructional process.

Although hearing students may initially show attention to the sign language, the interpreter is soon accepted as a routine aspect of instruction.