Labs/Studios/Field Work

Any learning that requires following directions or observing a demonstration poses particular challenges for Deaf/HH students, even with an interpreter or captionist present. Pointing to an object, whether it is to demonstrate steps to follow in a lab or on a computer screen, while simultaneously explaining the object, requires the Deaf/HH student to look in two places at once: at the interpreter or captioning, and at the object. This is clearly an impossibility. To provide the Deaf/HH students with better access, follow the following guidelines:

  • Distribute written materials in advance (or post materials on the web) before the lab and consider holding a pre-lab/studio session to familiarize students with procedures.
  • At the beginning of the lab/studio, clearly establish where all equipment and materials are located, referring to each object with its proper name.
  • Provide a break between the completion of your instructions and the time students begin a procedure, allowing the Deaf/HH students to read the notes taken during your instructions.
  • Start the lab with a ‘dry run’ (without liquids, specimens, etc.). This visualization of the procedure will help all students.
  • Describe each step of a process before performing it, pause for students to shift their attention, and then demonstrate the step without comment.
  • Make sure that students are able to observe an object, in the lab or on a computer display, before describing the object and then allow for a pause so that students can shift their attention to the next object.
  • Make students aware of any changes in lab procedures either before the lab meets, or display or write the changes on the board so students can refer to the information during the lab meeting.
  • For field work, be certain to stop the group, gain everyone’s attention, and allow the interpreter to position himself/herself before speaking. 
What teaching behaviors impede with your participation in lab activities? – Tabitha

What strategies would you like teachers to use when providing directions for lab procedures? – Tabitha
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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.