The interpreter will adjust to your teaching style and communication pace.
Because you want your information and knowledge to be accurately communicated, the interpreter must be accurate. This requires preparation. Here are some ways you can assist with the interpreter’s preparation:
The more you are willing to work with the interpreter, the more accurately you will be able to communicate with all the students in your class.
The student requiring accommodations may provide you with a letter from the Disability Support Services Office that advises you of each of the accommodations the student is receiving for your class. These accommodations could include interpreters, note-takers, remote real-time captioning, or FM Listening systems. This information is confidential. Please refrain from discussing this information or asking questions regarding this information with the student in front of others.
A number of simple techniques can make classroom communication with the hearing impaired student much more effective:
Most of the students who are deaf will choose to sit in a location (usually towards the front of the class) where they will have visible access to both you and the interpreter. This may mean adjusting your seating chart, should you use one, in order to accommodate the student’s needs.
When a person is standing in front of a strong light source (i.e. is backlit), it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the deaf student to distinguish facial features and movements. The Deaf student(s) in your class rely on visual access to information.
Please remember that the student and interpreter need a clear line of sight in order to have effective communication. Please remember not to set a projector, TV, or lectern in the student’s line of sight of the interpreter.
Movie and videotapes are designed to be fast-paced and the information is often very dense. This means that there are many important facts or complex concepts presented with little time to process the material mentally. Please attempt to use movies or videotapes that are either open or closed captioned. Most video equipment on campus is equipped for use with closed-captioned videos. If you record something from home, and the program is closed captioned, the captioning will automatically record. IF you must use a movie or video that is NOT captioned, please inform the interpreter as far in advance as possible. The interpreter will probably ask to borrow your copy of the tape to view at home in order to prepare. If you hand out a worksheet to be completed during the videotape, please understand that it is impossible for a student who is deaf to watch the video, the captioning and/ or interpreter, AND take notes or complete a worksheet at the same time. Here are some suggestions:
If no worksheet is to be completed, ask the notetaker to takes notes during the movie or video, even if they normally would not.
During class discussions allow time to enable students who are deaf to participate. It is not possible to interpret at exactly the same instant that something is said or signed. When you ask a question, the interpretation of that question will happen a couple of seconds later. In order to allow the Deaf student(s) to participate fully in classroom discussions, it is helpful to wait a short period of time before calling on someone. This gives all the students in your class the same opportunity to participate and allows you to accurately determine student participation.
Class discussion is often a large and essential part of the classroom experience. However, discussions that include several people speaking at once can be difficult or impossible to interpret. Please try to control the discussions. Act as a moderator to assure that only one person is talking at a given time. Be sure to recognize the next talker in order to give the students and interpreter time to realize who is talking…and from where. If at all possible, repeat or rephrase questions before a response is given.
If you have a lab class or have items displayed in your classroom that you will be pointing out, please allow extra time for the student who is deaf to locate what you are referring to before continuing. They will be getting the information from the interpreter about the item you are referring to and will need just a few seconds more to locate the object in the room.
Some can, some can’t. Please refrain from talking to the class at the same time you’re having them read something. Also, please do not explain next week’s assignment while the class is finishing an in-class assignment such as a test or writing assignment. Please write the important information on the board. The hearing students will benefit from this as well.
If you have your class read along as you read out loud, please note that the interpreter will probably stop interpreting and move closer to the student, and then move his or her finger along the section you are reading. This will enable the interpreter to more effectively get the student’s attention if you should stop to explain something in the reading or when the lecture resumes.
When reviewing a test in class, please give a few seconds between questions and answers for the interpreter to catch up. If at all possible, please provide the interpreter with a copy of the test while you are reviewing the test answers.
When passing around visual aids please allow a few extra moments for the student to get the information from the interpreter before handing the visual aid to the student.
When you are working with an interpreter and wish to address a student always speak directly to the student (e.g. “Do you want to….”, “How would you….”) and avoid phrasing that treats the deaf person as a non-entity (e.g. “Ask him if he wants ….”, “Tell her to open her book….”). Always phrase your communication with the deaf person as if you were communicating without an interpreter.
The interpreter will not edit nor delete any of your comments, nor those of other members of the class. This means that the interpreter will interpret everything that you say as well as everything ALL the students say during class. If you should meet with the student in your office, this includes any phone calls or comments you make in the student’s presence.
If at any time the interpreter is not in class or a substitute is not sent, please contact the interpreter coordinator (Natalie Beharry) or assistant director (Jacyln Anderson), at 2-6441 and an interpreter will be sent immediately if available.
The interpreter is NOT responsible for the student(s) who are deaf in your class. The responsibility for all the students in the classroom is the teacher’s, not an interpreter’s. The interpreter has no control over, nor responsibility for, classroom attendance or behavior of the student who is deaf. The interpreter’s primary function is to enable you to communicate with one (or more) of the students in your class as you facilitate the learning process. If you are concerned about the behavior of a student in your class, discuss your concerns with the student or refer the student to a counselor.
Even with the best preparation, problems may arise. The interpreter may need to stop you or another student for clarification regarding the spelling of a word, something that was not loud enough to be understood, or said at a very fast pace.
Much of the above information is adapted from the Individual Accommodations Model that was developed at the University of Kansas and was funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Cooperative Agreement No. H324M980109).