It can often seem as though a deaf student has an entourage.  Depending upon the needs of the student as well as the learning environment, you may find that your deaf student comes with one – indeed, sometimes two – interpreter/s as well as a notetaker.  This can feel intimidating, may seem like “overkill” or may seem like somehow the deaf student is being afforded an unfair advantage. [click here to view a clip from one TAFE teacher talking about her experience]

Depending on the needs of your deaf student – including his or her communication needs – these additional people in your classroom are necessary to provide access to the learning environment.

Deaf students who use Auslan [see more] as their primary language will require an Auslan/English interpreter [see more] to enable classroom discourse and interaction to be accessible to them.  Depending on the length of the class as well as the intensity of the class dynamics, two interpreters may be used and they will alternate interpreting.

A notetaker’s role is to record all that is presented in the classroom, including notes of the classroom discussion, replication of what is written on the whiteboard and text from videos or DVDs.  A notetaker is used because regardless of how your deaf student communicates – by lipreading English or using Auslan – it is not possible to maintain eye contact with yourself or the interpreter and take notes [see more].