Many school teachers would like how to teach their hearing pupils about deafness but are unsure how to proceed. Children with a classmate who’s deaf can be equally curious about what exactly is involved.
Depending on the age of the children in a school class, the concept of deafness can be taught in a few ways.
Where cochlear implants are worn, videos are brilliant for briefing children, their friends, schoolmates and the wider community on the specifics. There’s also a Cochlear Implant School Toolkit for families, teachers and children to explore in detail.
Children aged 4 to 7:
A childrens’ book is a natural way to introduce the subject of deafness to a young audience. Hearing-devices can be explained through the story, while giving the children the opportunity to ask questions or express any thoughts they have. And any deaf children in the class will identify with the story. The IDK childrens’ concept book, “A Birthday For Ben“, is a great example.
Children aged 8 to 18:
This age range can cover specific topics relating to deafness, including age-appropriate explanations of how ears work, why people are deaf, how deaf people communicate, and why the internet and mobile phones are so important to deaf people.
An initial lesson could explain how ears work for example, as a lead-in to a class discussion about deafness and the everyday issues faced by deaf people.
The next lesson could teach how technology can give deaf people access to information – and digital ways to communicate. For instance:
- CDs & DVDs can teach through ISL by using animated images & video clips
- deaf students can take exams through ISL by signing to a video camera
- the internet allows deaf people to communicate with, or without speech
- internet and mobile phone-based sign language interpretation is possible
- deaf people can use webcams to sign to each other using ooVoo or Skype
- email and texting seamlessly connect people, regardless of hearing ability
A later post will include a lesson for hearing pupils to learn about deafness.