In a “chalk and talk” format of delivery, you will find that you will need to adapt how you teach in order to make the information accessible to your deaf student.  You will need to be ever-mindful of the fact that your deaf student cannot simultaneously watch you (to lipread) or an interpreter (for Auslan users) and look at any visual support materials you are using (e.g.  your PowerPoint presentation, what you write on the whiteboard, any handouts you may have provided, any video clips to be viewed, etc.).

Therefore, you need to make clear separation between the “chalk” and the “talk”.  This is easier than it may sound, especially once you become accustomed to incorporating this change in your delivery style.

For example, you are using a PowerPoint presentation to support your delivery.  Each time you put up a new slide, pause and allow your deaf student to read what is on the slide.  Simply watch his or her eyes to see when s/he re-establishes eye contact with you if they are lip reading or s/he looks back to the interpreter.  Once you see this, just begin speaking.

Similarly, if you want your deaf student to refer back to the slide, provide him or her with the cue to look to the slide (e.g.  “on the top/centre/bottom of this slide, you can see a graph that illustrates …”) and give him or her the time to look and then re-establish eye contact with yourself or the interpreter.

This process can be supported if you are able to provide your deaf student with a printed copy the PowerPoint presentation at the beginning of the class.  Or, if possible, as an electronic copy emailed prior to class.

In either event, it also assists your deaf student if you also provide any support staff – that is, interpreters and notetakers [see more] with either soft or hard copies of the presentation.

Other points you will need to consider include:

  • when using videos or DVDs, the need to use ones with open captions or with captions that can be turned on (DVDs only) – these often can be sourced from your library
  • when using video clips from the internet, the 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

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; however, but it is not necessary to constantly maintain eye contact with your deaf student); similarly, making comments as you move about the room is not advised as the deaf student has not been cued to look at you to lipread
  • 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

Also be aware that background noise can significantly interfere with a deaf student’s ability to access the spoken word.


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