Teaching in a lecture format is fairly straight-forward as minimal changes to your delivery will be necessary. However, it will assist your deaf student significantly if you can make available prior to the lecture both to the student your lecture notes and/or any presentation materials (PowerPoint presentations, video clips to be viewed, etc.).
In addition, for a deaf student who is lipreading and/or using technology to access your spoken words, please be mindful that you:
- need to face the students whenever you speak (that is, you cannot make notations on a whiteboard whilst speaking – complete all writing before turning back to the students to elucidate, but it is not necessary to constantly maintain eye contact with your deaf student)
- may need to wear a special transmitter (similar to a microphone) that interacts with the technology used by the deaf student
- may need to re-phrase something you have said, if the student asks for clarification
- need to use videos/DVDs with open captions – these often can be sourced from your library
- need to avoid using the auto-caption option on YouTube clips as the speech recognition software that is used is unreliable and often the captions are nonsensical
The final two points above also apply to deaf students using an interpreter.
Interpreters and Notetakers
It is very common for deaf students to use notetakers in lectures; if the primary language of the deaf student is Auslan, s/he will also use Auslan/English interpreters. Normally in a lecture setting, two interpreters will work in tandem. This is to allow for the interpreting work to be shared and is because most commonly, lectures contain a level of discourse that is that includes fast-paced delivery and what interpreters refer to as very dense text. That is, there is a lot of information that is packed into a relatively short period of time!
So, whether or not your deaf student is watching you to lip read or watching the interpreter, it is next to impossible for him or her to simultaneously take notes. Hence, a notetaker is employed to undertake this task.
Working with notetakers and interpreters in a lecture environment is also straight-forward. The notetaker will sit next to or near the deaf student and the interpreter(s) will position themselves by standing near you, taking into account any overhead projection you may be employing.
It will assist both the notetakers and interpreters if you could:
- provide hard copies of any handouts as well as any PowerPoint presentations,
- if possible, email the interpreter in advance soft copies of any PowerPoint presentations or notes and/or any subject specific jargon – this will allow the interpreter to prepare prior to the lecture