Group Projects

One fundamental question is whether to mix Deaf/HH and hearing students together for group work, or to have them form their own separate group. Of course these two options would only apply to classes where there is more than one or two Deaf/HH students in the class.

If there are enough Deaf/HH students to form a separate group, you could ask Deaf/HH students for their preference; however, if your goal is for students to learn how to work in a diverse team with a variety of skills and perspectives, consider forming groups with both Deaf/HH and hearing members.

With mixed groups, particularly when there is no interpreter/captionist for each group, follow the these communication guidelines in order to provide access to all students:

  • Express the clear expectation that communication is the responsibility of all members of the group, and that all group members are responsible for mastery of the material
  • If no interpreter or captionist is available to work with a group, encourage students to communicate with each other in writing, using laptops/tablets, the board, paper and pencil, or markers and flipcharts.
  • Have students maintain a line of sight between speakers, take turns speaking, and clearly indicate who is speaking before beginning to speak. One option is to give students a ball to pass around with the understanding that only the person holding the ball can speak.
  • Provide any instructions to the groups written on the board for students to easily reference.
  • For groups that meet outside class, remind students to schedule meetings with lead time for scheduling of interpreting/captioning services if necessary.
  • Consider evaluating students’ effort to communicate with one another in addition to other assessments.

Related Videos

Teaching strategies

Working in groups
Grouping students for projects
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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.