When the style of delivery is one of a tutorial or group discussion, there are a number of modifications you will need to implement.  At a minimum, you will need to ensure that there is clear turn-taking and that people do not talk over one another.  As well, you may need to consider re-arranging the classroom into a horseshoe shape rather than having students sit in rows, one behind the other.

Most likely, you will need to modulate classroom discourse and interaction.  This will vary depending upon how the deaf student communicates, but generally you will need to consider the following:

  • asking students to raise their hands to comment or respond and then calling on them by name, as this will allow a deaf student who is lipreading to look to the right speaker; it also provides you with the opportunity to see how many students feel confident that they know the material
  • repeating or summarising the questions or comments made by the students – this would be done to make them accessible to your deaf student (e.g. if the student asking a question or making a comment is behind the deaf student), but would have the potential to also make the questions or comments more accessible to the entire cohort
  • actually calling on students to comment or respond; this has the extra benefit of allowing you to check for learning across your cohort as well as providing for a more even level of student participation
  • reminding students from time-to-time that only one should speak at a time
  • whether a student is lipreading or watching an Auslan/English interpreter, it usually takes a few extra seconds for a deaf student to internalise what has been said, so by you pacing the classroom discourse, you are providing your deaf student with a greater opportunity to contribute to the discussion and, thus, more equitable access

As every deaf student’s communication and classroom participation needs are different, the best approach is to speak with your deaf student and ask him or her to explain their needs and preferences.  Some students use technology such as a hearing aid, cochlear implant or an FM unit [see more] or a combination of technology and support staff such as a notetaker or an interpreter [see more].  Other students will use support staff only.  Your Disability Liaison Officer will also be able to assist in this process as they will usually assess the support needs of each student.  As well, deafConnectEd can also deliver targeted onsite training and advice.


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