Generally in a lab environment, at least part of the time will most likely include you either demonstrating or explaining a process. During such times, it important for you maintain an awareness of the interpreter and that this could be challenging as the interpreter may be closer to your deaf student than to you. The reason you need to maintain awareness of the interpreter is because the interpreting process means that s/he will be between 2-10 seconds behind what you are saying and you will need to monitor the communication flow through the interpreter so that you do not begin to demonstrate before the interpretation has been completed.
Also, remember – if you are explaining a process, your deaf student cannot replicate this on his/her lab bench or computer screen and watch the interpreter for your explanation. You need to explain, demonstrate – or allow the students to replicate the process – then explain again.
It is advantageous if you work with the interpreter to develop cues that allow you to know when the interpretation is complete and once you get the cue, then demonstrate. Another way to manage this is to actually watch the eyes of your deaf student to see when s/he breaks eye contact with the interpreter and shifts focus to what will be demonstrated. At that time, begin demonstrating. Or, in a computer lab, s/he breaks eye contact with the interpreter and looks to his/her computer screen. Wait until your deaf student re-establishes eye contact with the interpreter before speaking again.
It will assist the interpreter if you could:
- provide the interpreter with a briefing of the content and aim(s) of the day’s lesson,
- provide the interpreter with a copy of any handouts that support the content,
- if possible, email the interpreter in advance soft copies of any notes and/or any subject specific jargon – this will allow the interpreter to prepare prior to the class,
- manage any student/teacher interaction in such a way that turn-taking is clear and that only one person speaks at a time
Click here to download a deafConnectEd information sheet on working with interpreters.