Access to information
A deaf student cannot make notes and lipread at the same time. If a handout is not available and there is no notetaker, ask another student to photocopy their notes. Then pass them to your deaf student.
Make sure your deaf student has book lists well in advance of the beginning of the course. They may rely more on textbooks than lectures.
It's important that your lecture follows a logical structure. And includes regular opportunities for students to review the material.
During the lecture, make it clear if a subject is about to change, or a new concept is being introduced. You can do this by writing the topic on the board or holding up an appropriate book or article.
Overhead projectors (OHPs) are useful. They allow the lecturer to face students while working. But some models are noisy and cause problems for students with hearing aids.
Write important information on the board or OHP. For example, assignments, deadlines, and room changes.
Try to provide a new vocabulary list in advance, or write words on the board or OHP as they come up.
Viewing slides in a darkened room is a particular problem for deaf students. Try to direct a light source on the speaker or interpreter and turn up the lights when commentary is given.
If you give out a handout during your lecture, make it clear whether it's to be read immediately. If it does, your deaf student will need time to read it before you continue speaking. If not, make clear that it can be taken away and read in the student's own time.
Ensure all audiovisual materials have subtitles. Learning Space Support can assist you with this.
Group discussions can be difficult for a deaf student to follow. But there are strategies you can use to help them to participate fully:
- if a deaf student uses a radio microphone system or loop system, all contributors to the discussion will need to speak into the microphone
- make sure other students are aware of your deaf student's communication needs
- aim to have no more than six to 10 participants in a group
- a deaf student may prefer to sit next to the chair of the group as comments will be directed that way
- arrange the group in a circle or horseshoe and ensure that nobody is silhouetted against the light
- it's particularly important for students to take turns in speaking and in chairing discussions; allow your deaf student time to look in the speaker's direction before they start to speak
- try to summarise contributions from other students, so that your deaf student can follow the discussion
During a practical demonstration, ensure the deaf student can see what you are saying and what you're doing.
When you're in practical sessions, don't stand behind a deaf student when they're working. Your student will not know if you're speaking to them. They will have to turn away from their activity to find out.
A deaf student cannot lipread you and continue with their work or observations at the same time.
Considerate timetabling can be very helpful for deaf students. Where possible, consider students’ needs:
- people who provide communication services usually charge a minimum fee regardless of how short a session they are booked for. Try to plan sessions to make the most efficient use of their services
- lipreading is very tiring. Try not to fill an entire day with lectures
- communication services must be booked well in advance. If timetables are changed at short notice, suitable support may not be available for your student
Choosing a suitable room
Try to avoid rooms with bright or distracting décor. This can make it hard for deaf students to concentrate on a speaker.
Choose a room with good lighting.
Make sure the room is quiet. Hard-of-hearing students are more affected by background noise than their hearing peers.
Use a room that has carpets, soft furnishings, and ceiling tiles. These help to absorb sound.
Check which rooms are fitted with a loop system for hearing aid users using Resource booker.
Field trips or placements
You may need to make special provisions for deaf students on field trips or placements. A deaf student who copes well in a lecture may not be able to manage without additional support in the open air or in a noisy workplace. Be flexible and discuss possible options with the student well in advance.