There is a range of inclusive teaching strategies that can assist all students to learn. There are some specific strategies that are useful in teaching a group which includes students with hearing impairments. As a teacher, you are not expected to lower standards to accommodate students with disability, but rather are required to give them a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. It is very important to realize that as a teacher, you do not have to be an expert in every field. Make use of the help that experts offer.

When you first get a student in your classroom with hearing impairments, you might feel insecure since this is all new to you. It might help to realize that (except when you’re in early years) the student has been in this situation before and may be anxious about working with a new classroom teacher. Make sure that you do not underestimate these students; the fact that they live with a hearing impairment doesn’t mean they are low-ability students. Stimulate every student to find their strengths and their talents and work with all students from an asset-perspective. Get to know all your students the best you can.


  • Make eye contact with the student when you say something that is meant especially for that student.
  • If the student is not looking at you; tap on the students’ shoulder or say their name.
  • Make sure that the student can see your face (e.g., the lighting).
  • Talk slowly and clearly.
  • Check regularly with the student if they can still follow you and to find out if you need to repeat anything.
  • Don’t ever think ‘never mind’; take time.
  • Be aware of your facial expression.

simple signs with four people, yes, sorry, no and pleaseInclusivity

  • Make sure everyone can see your face; don’t talk with your back towards the children
  • Take your time when you talk, don’t hurry. Be clear: finish your sentences and announce when changing subjects
  • Realise the chance is big that students don’t get it if you just say something quick in the middle of your story
  • Support your instructions with visuals; write something down on the board or use images
  • Make sure everyone is silent before you talk
  • Check if all the relevant information is understood
  • Make sure that students speak one at the time

Amongst students

  • In the beginning of the year, you can ask your student if they want to give a presentation about their disability. How can the others help that student, what are the consequences, etcetera. Other children will understand better
  • Sit in a real circle during circle time so the students can see everyone, point to give turns
  • Repeat stories and summarize them when the students are spread out throughout the classroom in such a way that the student cannot see all their peers
  • When the students are collaborating; make sure the room or corner they work in is not too loud

In the classroom

  • Create a good spot for the student to sit, in front of the classroom is probably most efficient. Some children might feel like they’re missing out on what happens in the rest of the classroom, sitting in the back is fine but make sure they still have a good view of you as a teacher
  • Realize most hearing-impaired students can’t listen and write at the same time; wait a little longer so they have time
  • Think about ways to reduce the background noises; make peers aware
  • Sometimes the student needs a little more rest; talk about this and think about ways the students can have a moment to itself. Make it visible (e.g., a corner, a headset)

Teaching materials

  • Video’s without subtitles are hard to follow. Make sure there are subtitles present
  • Check up with the student on a regular base
  • If listening assignments are a problem; think of something else and discuss this with your student
  • Always be open and flexible to creative solutions if an assignment doesn’t work out

Interpreter in the classroomInterpreters

  • An interpreter only does one thing; interpret. They are not in your classroom to help you
  • Don’t ask questions about the student. Try to communicate with the student
  • Interpreters have a duty of confidentiality
  • Interpreting takes time. Bear this in mind
  • Interpreting is a hard job, keep in mind that they don’t always interpret perfectly, and the child might not understand you


Direct Instruction

  • Keep instructions brief and uncomplicated as much as possible. When repeating instructions, repeat exactly without paraphrasing
  • Present lecture information in a visual format (e.g., chalkboard, PowerPoint slides, handouts, etc.)
  • Use more than one way to demonstrate or explain information
  • When teaching, state objectives, review previous lessons and summarize periodically
  • Repeat the comments and questions of other students, especially those from the back rows. Acknowledge who has made the comment so students who are deaf or hard of hearing can focus on the speaker
  • When appropriate, ask for a hearing volunteer to team up with a student who is deaf or hard of hearing for in-class assignments
  • If possible, provide transcripts of audio information




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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by room305 and Inclusive Education Class 2020-2021 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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