Instructional delivery style can make a difference

STEM courses often use whiteboards and slides that show specific steps and procedures. To follow your lectures, students who are hard of hearing must continually use a combination of lip reading and nonverbal cues while simultaneously reading the board or slides.

Be cognizant of facing the class and not “talking to the board” or walking around the room to provide student veterans with the best opportunity to understand your lectures.

Points to Consider

  • The teaching style of STEM courses can be challenging for people with hearing loss, because of the innate multisensory teaching approach.
  • Material is often presented:
    • orally through lecture
    • visually through slides, handouts and writing on the white board
    • in a tangible format with hands-on materials in which the student must engage with or manipulate as part of the learning.
  • When lecturing in STEM course, try:
  • To not to speak with your back to class
  • To not speak when students are supposed to be reading or reviewing written material
  • To not speak while students are using tangible items such as microscopes.
  • Students relying on sign-language interpreters or lip-reading will miss components of the lecture that are presented when visual site-line is broken.
    • This can be very important not just content wise, but when following step-by-step material or information.
  • Moving around the classroom can be a common behavior of many instructors, especially in STEM course when instructors may be reviewing student work as it is occurring.
    • As mentioned in “seating selection is more than a chair”, where a student places themselves in the class may be based on their learning needs.
    • If an instructor is sharing important information from the back of the classroom, those in the front row may miss the information.

Online Considerations

  • Using a headset can help mitigate background noise and supports the speakers voice coming through clearly even if the speaker is not visible while talking
  • Students with hearing loss may rely on lip-reading, be cognizant if students are being asked to break sightline with the speaker and how that can affect their ability to capture all the information during the live lectures
    • This may be more common in STEM courses where step-by-step instruction may be necessary for labs and mathematical equations
  • There can be eye strain, audio/visual fatigue, headaches/migraines associated with prolonged screen exposure.
    • Consider break times during long sessions
  • Instructors can advocate for live captioning for their online synchronous classes through their institutions