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Teaching hearing impaired children is best done by using extreme amounts of face time, visual tools, and little, if any, vibration-causing devices. Young people with hearing impairments, who prefer being called hard of hearing or deaf, learn best when written instruction is concise, clear, and straightforward. In cases where teachers are not proficient in sign language, use of an interpreter can also enhance instruction.
While teachers of hearing-enabled students can turn their backs during instruction and move around the classroom, these are not the best strategies for hearing impaired children, according to researchers. One of the primary tools for teaching children with hearing impairments is the teacher’s face. It can convey tone, subtext, and skill affirmation.
For this reason, continual face time when a lesson is being presented is generally considered the best approach. Audiologists and educators suggest that teachers remain not only forward-facing, but very close to the eyes of students with hearing impairments. This enables the child to read lips more easily in addition to reading facial expressions and whole body gestures.
Visual aids are the backbone of deaf education. Such aids can include videos, slideshows, cards and photographs. Computer lessons and even wordless live theater or skits can animate a lesson plan and masterfully convey information to hearing impaired children. The best teachers of children who are hard of hearing often use lively illustrations before moving to written assignments.
Although hearing impaired children cannot hear, they are sensitive to vibrations from loud noises. Such vibrations can be a distraction and should be minimized, according to experts. Therefore, any media that includes sound should typically be muted.
Efficient communication can ensure that a well-prepared lesson plan turns into an effective learning experience for hearing impaired children. Since lectures, a staple in mainstream classrooms, cannot be used effectively in a deaf education, teachers for the hard of hearing often rely on written communication and signed communication. Experts recommend short sentences with simple subjects and verbs, avoiding complicated clauses or long phrases for both homework and in-class assignments. Complicated sentences might require further explanation, taxing the student with an excessive need to write or sign questions and decipher new directions from the teacher. Complex sentences, however, must still be taught, authorities say; some experts, in fact, suggest a special teaching emphasis on complex sentence structure for children who are hard of hearing.
While many teachers of hearing impaired children have moderate skill in sign language, those who do not typically teach alongside professional interpreters. This is considered one of the best communication strategies since it allows the teacher to use oral language while the interpreters translate. Such a practice allows more spontaneous exchange between instructors and hearing impaired children.