At the beginning of each school year, teachers often take the time to get to know their students—their favorite subjects, their goals, their families, etc. With hard-of-hearing and deaf learners, though, many educators stop and let that one characteristic define the student and the student-teacher relationship.

But in the edWebinar “Deaf Learners: Designing Practice to Support Their Learner Variability, Culture, and Families,” sponsored by Digital Promise, the presenters explained why educators need to dig deeper and understand all of the factors influencing the student’s motivation and interest in learning.

First, in order to develop an education plan for hard-of-hearing and deaf learners, teachers must learn about the student’s language background. Without understanding the student’s foundation, the teacher won’t be able to develop appropriate lessons.

Related content: 8 learning apps for students with special needs

Potential survey questions include:

● Were they born with any level of hearing? What’s their exposure to auditory language?
● At what age did the student start using sign language, if at all? Does anyone sign at home?
● How many languages are used at home? For instance, some families speak Spanish, English, and American Sign Language (ASL).
● What’s the student’s exposure to phonology, both auditory and visual?

About the Author:

Stacey Pusey is an education communications consultant and writer. She assists education organizations with content strategy and teaches writing at the college level. Stacey has worked in the preK-12 education world for 20 years, spending time on school management and working for education associations including the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. Stacey is working with as a marketing communications advisor and writer.

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