Improving the Mainstream Classroom For Deaf Children Post COVID-19
As we return back into classrooms in the fall, it’s important not to forget everything we’ve learned during our time at home. While at home, children who are deaf or hard of hearing have had the opportunity to learn at their own pace in a relaxed environment.
Mainstream classrooms are often not the ideal place for children with hearing disabilities to learn - which is why it’s important that we try our best to improve classroom learning for deaf children moving forward.
Here we’ll go through what assistive technology is, how you can learn about it to help your child, and why you should encourage the use of it in the classroom.
We’ll also go over some of the things that make it difficult to learn for a deaf student or a student who’s hard of hearing.
Should assistive technology be used in the classroom?
If you know children who use assistive technology then you’re probably already familiar with what hearing aids and cochlear implants are. If you’re not sure, they’re devices used to help a student hear what’s going on in the classroom more clearly.
But, even when assistive devices are used, it can still be difficult to process auditory information in certain settings.
For example, a classroom is a very loud environment and many students will struggle to process important information from irrelevant information - like the noise from the AC.
But, it is possible to overcome these challenges when hearing assistive technology is used in the classroom. See our blog on “Should You Be Using Hearing Assistive Technology in the Classroom?” for more information on why these devices can help students thrive in their learning environment.
Using assistive technology in mainstream classrooms
Many mainstream schools aren’t equipped with the right tools or technology to provide a deaf or hard of hearing student with the right level of education.
Without certain tech, these children will find it harder to learn at the same speed as their fellow pupils.
This is why it’s important for your school to become familiar with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices. Without these devices, teachers will find it difficult to meet the social and academic needs of their students.
At CCHAT, we specialize in helping mainstream schools overcome these challenges by helping them understand how assistive devices work and how they can help their students.
Our specialists can help train the school staff to effectively address the unique needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
For more information, check out our blog post on “Assistive Technology for Children with Hearing Impairment in the Classroom”.
What challenges do deaf students face in a traditional classroom setting?
In classrooms, children who are deaf or hard of hearing will often find it difficult to make out important information due to the acoustics of the classroom.
There are a few ways to solve this and help your students feel more comfortable in the classroom.
Give them full visual access to the teacher. If possible, move the desks into a ‘U’ shape you’ll be giving your student the opportunity to always see who’s speaking or ensure the student has a front row seat.
Did you know that fluorescent lighting emits a unique sound that can interfere with hearing aids and cochlear implants?
This sound makes it incredibly difficult for students who are deaf or hard of hearing to pick up what the teacher or other students are saying.
If possible, try seating the student near a window to make use of more natural light with a clear view of the teacher.
Remember, not every child is the same
Every child learns differently - whether they have a hearing disability or not. If a teacher is instructed on how they should go about teaching a deaf student it might not be the same for the next deaf student that comes into the school. It’s important to adapt the teaching method to suit the individual needs of the child.
Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can often feel uncomfortable in a classroom setting especially when attention is drawn to their hearing problem.
They want to make friends and be like their peers which might cause them to keep their hearing problems to themselves. This could lead to them not taking part in classroom activities.
How has online learning helped students who are deaf or hard of hearing?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools to go online and teach their students from a distance. Because of this, many deaf or hard of hearing students are now able to listen to their lessons in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
In the comfort of their own home, they are able to listen to the videos being sent over, and if they don’t quite understand a part of the lesson they can easily rewind it and start again. This gives them the chance to take in everything that is being taught to them.
Parents' roles are incredibly important during home learning too - they need to make sure their child is attending the online classes, watching the videos, and doing their written homework.
Parent-teacher communication is key, and during this time, teachers are checking in with parents to see how their child is doing.
As we come out of lockdown and into the new school semester this fall, we must continue doing these things to help children who are deaf or hard of hearing maintain their learning levels.
Having access to online resources to help them learn is a great way to improve students’ education.
If you have any concerns or questions about what to expect when your child goes back to school in the fall, send us a message on our contact page.