All students need time to process complex material and Deaf/HH students are no exception, particularly if the message is being translated by an interpreter or captured by a captionist. You may want to take the time to review your classroom presentations to be sure that complex materials are being understood. Some strategies might be:

  • Provide students with a course outline at the beginning of the course; this makes your lectures more predictable and accessible for students.
  • When you are presenting material, provide clues to indicate when you are changing topics. Verbally indicate that the topic is changing, pause, point to the slide, draw a line on the board, etc.
  • Present your material in as logical a progression as possible, with a limited number of false starts, backtracking, or digressions.
  • Be sure to write new words on the board to slow your pace, and to indicate something important is being introduced. If possible, an illustration of the vocabulary word is also helpful.
  • Write formulas, vocabulary, special names, announcements, assignments, etc. on the board and allow students time to process them.
  • Consider distributing a list of vocabulary words.
  • Provide detailed assignments in writing.
  • Consider sharing your class notes and copies of your Powerpoint presentations to the students after each class.
  • Ask for a student who understands the concept to explain it to his/her peers. You may be surprised by the different approach the student takes.
  • At the end of class, have students write a few sentence about what they learned in class each day, and then review these to check on your students’ understanding.
  • If a captionist is present in your classroom, review the transcript after the class – and read it from a student perspective.
  • If a notetaker is present, check notes to ensure that new words have been included and are properly spelled and defined.
  • If your campus provides video services, have someone videotape your class and review the tape.
What teaching behaviors impede your learning of difficult concepts? What teaching strategies could help you to understand a very difficult, complex concept? – Kyle
What would you like to see teachers do to ensure a smooth flow in presentation style? – Tabitha
Presenting Vocabulary
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National Technical Institute for the Deaf
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This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 1104229, 1501756, and 1902474.