Education Studies and Auditory Difficulties
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If students use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language, they are likely to have English as their second. This can cause students with auditory difficulties to experience extra difficulties with the study of English. The following points may prove particularly difficult and may need to be noted when assigning reading to or marking the written work of students who use BSL:
- Long sentences may be difficult for the student to read / write.
- Difficult and new vocabulary may take longer to become familiar to the student so a reduction in vocabulary load may be appropriate.
- Concept density.
- When using a pronoun be sure that the antecedent is very clear.
- Do not omit words such as: "that" where such words will clarify a sentence connection.
- Students may be using simplistic coordinating conjunctions (e.g., but, so, for, and) and avoiding less common transitional words (e.g., however, as a consequence, nevertheless, although) and it shouldn't always be assumed that their writing lacks a certain level of maturity.
- Keep cause-and-effect expressions in a very simple in form.
- Students may find it difficult to understand conditional expressions which influence the meaning of a statement (e.g. if, when, assuming that, suppose, provided that, etc.).
- If there is no other way to avoid using a difficult word, include a brief explanation in parentheses, however keep parenthetical explanations to a minimum.
- If an important basic or technical word is to be taught: make meaning and application absolutely clear, use context as a memory aid and for a new term, repeat the word numerous times in a variety of contexts.
- Be aware that certain language forms may cause confusion for the student, examples of this include: passive voice verbs, negative forms of verbs and other expressions of negation, too many modifying forms, such as prepositional phrases, relative clauses. (If a relative clause must be used, the relative pronoun [who, which, that, where, etc.] should be next to the word to which it refers), stylistic embellishments, such as rhetorical inversions, colloquial and idiomatic expressions and idioms.
- Excessive wordiness can makes things difficult for a student using BSL, if possible, it might be useful to try to use a simpler form of English
Communication and group work can be problematic for students with auditory difficulties. If a group has more than 6-10 participants it can be difficult for the student to lip-read everyone and to follow the flow of contributions, the following points would therefore be useful to bear in mind:
- Seat people where the student can see the face(s).
- Arrange for someone to facilitate the discussion.
- Use a gesture to indicate the desire to speak and allow sufficient time for the student to look at a contributor before they start to speak.
- A radio microphone or loop system may be useful in some cases and contributors should be aware that background noise (e.g. rustling papers) is distracting if someone is using a hearing aid.
Source: CSP Guidance: Support Disabled Physiotherapy Students on Clinical Placement The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Receiving Information During Lectures
Students who have a hearing impairment may need to lip-read, and if this is the case, the lecturer's face - or the face of any other speaker needs to be visible.
Spot-lighting may be needed for lip-reading (and sign language interpretation) when the room is darkened, e.g. for showing slides or video. Where students use the services of a lip-speaker or an interpreter, such support workers are likely to need short breaks during lectures. They may also need help with provision and positioning of seating.
Both student and signer or lip-speaker will derive great benefit from being given an outline of the lecture material beforehand. Signs for new terminology need to be devised in advance and signs for specialist subject vocabulary will not be instantly available to signers.
Case study about a B.Ed student with auditory difficulties. She describes the difficulties she encountered during her first year at college and during a school placement, and the support she received.