Students who are deaf or hard of hearing by Peter Gisser and Maura Geisser.
* This post is the summary after reading the article, Students who are deaf or hard of Hearing by Peter Geisser and Maura Geisser.
- Children who are deaf and hard of hearing come in all colors, socio-economic backgrounds, levels of intelligence, and have the strengths and weaknesses of any group of children. Under close scrutiny, one may notice that a child wears a hearing aid, has difficulty speaking, does not understand words spoken in class, or that his or her voice has a different sound quality to it.
- An important difference between the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing and students with other disabilities is the focus on language acquisition.
-In addition, background noises in the classroom environment are extremely problematic for deaf and hard-of hearing children because loud sounds tend to increase the level of distortion.
- Deafness is more than just a medical determination or a consideration in the classroom. It is a whole culture for many people. Not unlike the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the Deaf community has fought hard for the services and ‘tights that have been assured by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) legislation.
There is big “D” Deaf and little “d” deaf. Small “d” is quite simply a medical determination that one has a hearing loss and is deaf. The big “D” refers to a cultural movement in the United States that has its own language, ASL (American Sign Language), and modes of visual communication. The Deaf culture's etiquette _ and political activism has made a community out of what was once seen by the _ hearing world as a condition that needed to be fixed.
There is Deaf pride just as there is pride in any minority community. One result, and also a big culture clash, si that the adult Deaf community takes serious all issues “Deaf.” One of the major issues is how their children should be educated. Years of discrimination and underachievement have resulted in some very strong opinions as well as many insightful and well-educated young Deaf citizens.
--For art teachers, who must stay focused on students’ needs, the best approach is candor. Art classes offer a visual language that all children can learn and understand. Just as a person in a foreign country will be forgiven mispronunciations when attempting the local language, so you will find, most students and their parents are anxious to communicate with you and will teach you what they and you need to know.
- Life are an imprinting period when most hearing children acquire any language to which they are exposed. If the child can’t hear the words, he or she will need to see the words in lip-reading and sign language. Communication Modes Today’s teaching methods are influenced by a century-old battle in deaf education, oral versus manual communication. The history of deaf education in America goes back to Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Gallaudet, both teachers of the deaf. Bell came from Scotland with a strong Oral and Speech Reading tradition. Gallaudet studied in France and brought France's strong sign language tradition to the American School for the Deaf in Hartford. Each method has educational ramifications and consequences.
With two basic approaches to communication and language acquisition for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, parents must often make a choice as to which their child will be offered. Sometimes, however, school districts will offer only one of the approaches. As a result, students may be taught with either oral or manual communication or a combination of both modes. To further clarify this distinction, let us look at each approach and other methods that are used.
Sometimes referred to as the Auditory-Oral approach, oral communication is based on the fundamental premise that deaf or hard of hearing children will develop competence in both their receptive and expressive spoken language. ‘These students use only speech, speech reading (lip-reading), and their own residual hearing. They verbally try to accurately articulate and pronounce each vowel, consonant, and phoneme. Words and sentences are syllabically sounded out. There is no use of any kind of sign language at all. However, it is of interest to note that many deaf children lip-read poorly or not at all. Therefore, they may not comprehend completely what is being spoken. The result is either a partial or a complete failure to communicate and understand what was spoken.
This is a communication mode that complements speech and lip reading. It uses a special sign system that indicates the sounds of oral production, for example, the distinction between the “b” and “p” and “v” and “f” sounds which when lip-read, appear the same. Cued signs are made near the lip or chin area so they can be seen while speech reading.
Not one, single approach, manual communication appears in a variety of methods, all of which use hand shapes, signs, gestures, bodily movements, facial expressions, and fingerspelling exclusively. There is no oral language; manual communication is a visual language. Under the umbrella of manual communication, we find finger spelling and American Sign Language (ASL) to name two. Most deaf or hard of hearing children and adults prefer using ASL.
American Sign Language American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, complex, natural language in its own right, which uses no voicing at all. This manual approach is not a derivative of the English language.
Finger Spelling Several other modes of communication, though not as widely used as ASL, are used in schools. In Rochester, New York, a method was developed where every word spoken is finger spelled.
Not one, single approach, manual communication appears in a variety of methods, all of which use hand shapes, signs, gestures, bodily movements, facial expressions, and fingerspelling exclusively. There is no oral language; manual communication is a visual language.
- The use of hand gestures and facial features, such as eyebrow motion and lip-mouth movements, are significant to American Sign Language as they form a crucial part of the grammar of a message.
Total Communication (TC) was the approach used at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in the art room. Total Communication combines one or several of the communication modes: such as manual, oral, auditory, or written communication, depending on the specific needs of the deaf child in the class.
Practical Advice for the Classroom
- Getting Attention
Several sensitive issues surround getting attention. The sign for “call” is a gentle touch on the back of the opposite hand. There is also a gesture from the mouth but this sign means “call; as in screaming out. This simple etiquette fits well when “calling” any person who is deaf. Specific situations, of course, may call for a more urgent mode. Flashing lights on and off will let a large group of children know you are calling them.
- More recent linguistic research supports this theory. Gale, De Villiers, and Pyers (1996) write, “The degree of delay in the individual deaf child’s theory of mind reasoning was closely related to their language ability, particularly of complex language” (p. 213)
- What is part of life is part of art. Art teachers can, in the intimacy of an art lesson, connect the visual with written words and concepts or take the extra time to connect a lesson to the students’ whole school experience. Integrating the art curriculum with what is being taught in the classroom is not only an efficient use of the students’ learning time, it is essential and effective in helping students make sense of their world.
- The main work of the creative person ... is to be able to look at the world with wonder and awe, to be able to direct attention to the richest, most significant parts of the world, to ask the most penetrating questions, to design the most effective strategies for accomplishing goals, and to create the most significant symbols to represent the experience. (London, 1994, p.14)
- Students who are deaf may also have a great deal of difficulty dealing with the distinction between concrete and abstract thinking and concepts. Difficulties also arise when teaching takes the abstract out of learning by focusing only on “right” answers and discourages student questions. Art can bridge the gap between abstract and concrete in a demonstrative way that may not be explained as well in words. For example, a lump of clay formed into a pinch pot, dried, fired, glazed, and fired again can become a perfect example of many abstract thoughts: change, time, and eternity.
-Art as a Communication Mode
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing respond to a variety of art media. Some materials have an almost intrinsic magic to them. Clay is certainly one of these. All ages respond to clay and our students especially love it, most likely due to the tactile nature of the material.
- Art can make powerful connections between the real world and the abstract world.
--Art can allow the student who is deaf to wonder, to pose questions, and to pursue imaginary possibilities and novel ideas. Additionally, the variety and flexibility of one’s imagination is enhanced by richness in one’s mental representations and these are dependent on having a complex and coherent language system and vivid perceptual images (Geisser, M., 1998).
- The teaching of critical and creative thinking encourages students to look for the consequence of thought and to use complex, higher order thinking.
- Art is a language and learning with art is a way to engage language skills.
- Hearing Aids and Sound Levels
Hearing aids amplify sounds in the environment. Keeping environmental sound to a minimum is important when teaching students with hearing loss. In schools ’ for the deaf, floors are usually carpeted.
-Wear a special microphone with an FM transmitter.
The radio frequency of this microphone will match the frequency of the special hearing aid a student wears. This hearing aid allows the student to hear the teacher's voice while it blocks much of the background sound. It is still important to keep the amount of all classroom noise to a minimum.
-The best lip readers only get 70% of what is said. So, even when the directions are clearly stated, the teacher might check for understanding and ask the student to repeat the directions.
- Visuals, demonstrations, prepared examples, and short written directions all help understanding.
-Artworks in the Community It is important to create a community of inquiry and learning. Communities have a history and the students become part of that history.
- ‘Art is to give feeling, to make things alive instead of dull...” “To See. That is art, that [is] how I learned.”
Myungja Anna Koh