Teaching deaf students in the inclusive classroom- Part 1
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Teaching deaf students in the inclusive classroom- Part 1

I believe that every child can learn, even
if they come with multiple disabilities with that deafness, or they come and they are just
deaf. But I think they all can learn, somehow, some way.
So we work hard to try to make that happen. Why do you think that Granddad wanted to walk to a high hill? Why not low hill? Because the high hill we can stand and see
everything below. If it’s a low hill, you won’t be able to see because of the trees
and everything. So, my favorite, it’s best — Mole says — my favorite. We go up and
walk. Good! The beautiful trees, we walk for a long time. Very good! I wish that all teachers knew that deaf students
are very capable. And just to hold them to the same expectations as they would any child. Okay, and how about over here? Who wants to
share? I think he’s in the middle of nowhere and
he’s just having dreams. Any particular dreams? Maybe he’s in like a boat or something,
and he gets shot out of it and into a tree. And he wakes up and sees where he is, he looks
around, doesn’t know where he is. Alright, let’s, okay, let’s see. Treat them just like any other child; if they’re
not paying attention, if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, you know, the
teacher needs to treat them just like everybody else. Sometimes I think people think “Oh,
it’s the poor deaf child” and they tend to give them a lot more room when it comes
to discipline and stuff a lot of times. And also academically. Most of the children, not
all, but a lot of the children here have pretty good language and are doing very well in the
classroom. Just, you know, try to remember to treat them the same you would any other
child as far as what you expect from them academically; homework, reading, their math,
anything else with the other classes. The most important thing is to have high expectations
for the deaf students. Although deaf students are extremely individual in terms of the previous
background that they’ve had, whether or not they’ve had any type of early intervention,
does the child come from a home in which the parents know signing, if they’ve selected
signing for the child, does the child come from a background where English is not the
child’s home language. So there are many different factors that are involved in thinking
about what’s appropriate for a deaf student. The family, of course, is the biggest determiner
of that, in terms of mode of communication, and family support. But I would say generally
for a regular classroom teacher to have high expectations of a deaf student. But realize
that deaf students enter schooling with different types of knowledge, different types of experiences. I think the regular classroom teacher, in
order to educate the deaf student, really needs to know about that student, just like
she would the hearing students in the classroom, and get to know the background of the student,
because that plays an important role when the child comes in day after day. I also think
it’s important for them to learn about Deaf culture, and what that brings with the child,
as well as deafness itself. You know, how greatly deafness impacts the language with
the deaf child. The regular teacher needs to learn about the mode of communication that
the child may use. Some of our students use American Sign Language, some of our students
it’s more Pidgin, but it would be important for them to understand that there is a difference. I would probably advise a regular classroom
teacher to consult with the teacher of the deaf, who probably has the primary information
about the student. I do think that it’s very important that the regular classroom
teacher knows, what are the child’s interests? Is the child interested in sports, what types
of activities does the family do, because that way, you could make some real life connections
and lessons to what the child is interested in, and therefore, it’s going, the information,
the heavy academic information is going to be more accessible to them, and more relatable
to them. When I’ve taken sign language classes a
lot, one of the first things they did was kind of to dispel a lot of the rumors people
think about deaf people, you know, that deaf people can’t drive, they read Braille, or
they think, you know, there’s just a lot of silly little things that often times people
don’t know or don’t realize. I had one regular ed teacher who did share
that, you know, she didn’t realize how often deaf — profoundly deaf — kids will make
little noises. And, you know, I was like, “that’s good to know,” because then
if we do have a teacher who has never had a deaf child, it’s good to let them know,
“well, they might make these little noises because, you know, they’re not totally silent.” Ask Ryan. We do a lot of teaching the pragmatics of
language, you know, what’s appropriate to say, what’s not appropriate responses you
give to people for questions they might ask. We do lots of role-playing and try to work
on the social skills, because they have to be taught. Some of the other factors are really
learning the child as an individual. Some of our children need just a little bit, some
of our children have greater needs. And that, you know, the regular ed teacher knows what
those are and is sensitive to that. And some of it we learn by doing. Some of the grades
they may play a variety of games to learn concepts, like Jeopardy and things like that,
so we’ve learned that in order for the deaf student to be successful and to participate,
you’ve got to give the lag time, because the interpreter has to sign some things, and
so we change how you might play the game, or we, the teacher might have to count to
three before anyone can push the buzzer. So, you know, I find the willingness of a teacher
to make those changes, to accommodate, that I have a child that has special needs in the
classroom. That is just a great thing.

About James Carlton

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3 thoughts on “Teaching deaf students in the inclusive classroom- Part 1

  1. I had a mainstream teacher who helped me out, in more ways than one (I was in 6th grade late 90’s). I used an audio box, and my teachers used a microphone like singers would used. Until I met this teacher, I hated the device, I felt singled out from other students and didn’t feel comfortable using any device, so I had started to teach myself to lip read. He made me feel welcomed and comfortable around other classmates. He learned what my interests were, New that I had a tough time with school, and dealing with surgeries. I am thankful today as my hearing test came back with not so great results that I learned to lip read, next week I follow up with my ent to see what the next step is. Prior to that I had always been relying on lip reading, but I recently had made a tough decision to leave my stressful job/career as a pastry chef, and eventually become an ASL teacher or get some other type job in the deaf community reaching out to other younger students who are basically going through what I’ve been through. I should also mention I’ve been a drummer most of my life, and still play, tho some days are harder than others. One final thought, while Mr Holland’s Opus was a part that inspired me to continue music with a hearing loss, Mr Delucia (or Mr D as we called him, still working same classroom!) was a bigger inspiration behind my decision to work with the deaf community! He gave me my nickname that stuck even till today, Roscoe. I should also point out that while he wasn’t the only one who had an impact in my life with being hard of hearing in Mainstream world, he surely want the last!

  2. What if the "main" teacher used ASL and the "interpreter" spoke English? To be HoH or Deaf is profoundly isolating. It bothers me how the Deaf student sits on the side of the class. They seem separated.

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