Teaching Students who are Deaf, Deafened, or Hard of Hearing Faculty Guide

Mohawk College acknowledges the right of all individuals, including those with disabilities, to an equal opportunity to experience success in their academic and/or employment endeavours within the College. The College recognizes that making successful learning and employment outcomes accessible to students and employees, respectively, is a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students and staff.

The services provided by Accessible Learning Services supports students to pursue their college education in a way which respects their dignity, encourages independence in their academic pursuits, and promotes full participation in the college community.

Persons who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing are part of our Mohawk College community, and understanding and using the proper terminology for these groups of students is important and respectful.

Definitions of Deaf, deafened, or Hard of Hearing

The Canadian Hearing Society uses the following definitions for Deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing.

Deaf: (uppercase “D”)

Deaf is a term that refers to members of a socio-linguistic and cultural group whose first language is sign language. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).

deafened: late-deafened and oral deaf (lowercase “d”)

deafened: late-deafened and oral deaf are terms that refer to individuals who have lost all hearing at some point in their lives, use spoken language, and rely on visual forms of communication, such as speech reading, text and occasionally sign language.

Hard of Hearing

Hard of hearing is a term that refers to individuals who have a hearing loss ranging from mild to profound, and who use their voice and residual hearing – and occasionally sign language – for communication.

Support’s for Students who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing

Students who are Deaf, deafened, or hard of hearing have in place academic accommodations and support persons in the classroom such as Sign Language Interpreter or a Computerized Note Taker.

What is the Role of a Sign Language Interpreter?

  • Communicates all college-related communication to and for students and faculty as needed
  • Works as part of a team by attaining and maintaining good interpersonal relations
  • Be familiar with learning resources, course subject material and the environment at the post-secondary level – actively engage in upgrading pertinent skills and knowledge
  • Deliver service in the communication style preferred by the student and will not censor or speak for the student
  • Provide services only when the student is present and participating
  • Maintain confidentiality according to Mohawk College Policy and the AVLIC Code of Ethics
  • During exams, the Interpreter will translate the written English test/exam questions into ASL. She/he will not divulge or reveal all or any part of the answer through the interpretation, and only where knowledge of content is being tested, not English

Sign Language Interpreter and Students in the Classroom

  • Speak directly to the student, not the Interpreter
  • Make sure you are situated in the sightline of the student and Interpreter
  • Due to duration or intensity, some classes require two Interpreters in class at the same time. In such situations, both service providers are to act as a team, rotating responsibilities at pre-arranged intervals, and providing support and feedback to each other
  • Provide captioned videos and films where available
  • Be prepared to be interrupted by Interpreter if someone is inaudible
  • When speaking, face the students and try and avoid speaking with your back turned to the class
  • Speak at a reasonable pace so that Interpreters have time to interpret to the student

What is the Role of a Computerized Note Taker?

  • Computerized Note Taker’s (CNT) attend students lectures for students who are hard of hearing
  • The CNT takes verbatim notes for the student during class time
  • CNT will support the student’s preferred learning and note-taking methods, i.e. /verbatim/point form/paragraphs
  • Transcribe all dialogue within the learning environment using a word processor
  • CNT’s will set up to note take before the start of class
  • Maintain confidentiality regarding student and class information
  • If the student is absent from class, the CNT will wait 15 minutes before leaving class. CNT will not take notes if the student is not present

Computerized Note Takers and Students in the Classroom

  • Be prepared to be interrupted by the CNT if someone is inaudible
  • CNT’s type at a very fast pass to keep up, which takes a lot of concentration and stamina, try and allow a break for every 50 minutes of lecture time
  • When speaking, face the students and try and avoid speaking with your back turned to the class
  • Speak at a reasonable pace so that the CNT has time to transcribe what they are hearing
  • Provide captioned videos and films where available

Typical Accommodations for Students Who Are Deaf, deafened, or Hard of Hearing

  • ASL Interpreter or Computerized Note Taker
  • Closed captioning of all course video content
  • Use of assistive devices such as an FM system in the classroom
  • Extended time for quizzes and tests
  • Clarification
  • Priority seating
  • Use of computer for completing tests and exams

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Have Questions? Need Assistance? Want to Book an Appointment?
We are here to help. Contact Accessible Learning Services by email at als [at] mohawkcollege.ca or by phone at (905) 575-2122.