Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing - Instructional Strategies

This page contains instructional strategies for faculty at SF State who have students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing enrolled in their classes.  The best instructional strategy is to facilitate the accommodations that the student is authorized for. You have the right to view the student's accommodation letter at any time. In addition, below are some strategies that some students have found helpful. Please contact the DPRC with any questions about these recommendations. Contact us at (415) 338-2472 or dprc@sfsu.edu.

Instructional Strategies

The following strategies are suggested in order to enhance the accessibility of course instruction, materials, and activities for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  They are general strategies designed to support individualized reasonable accommodations.

  • On your syllabus, include a Disability Access Statement inviting students with disabilities to request accommodations. The DPRC has developed the following Disability Access Statement for course syllabi: "Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC, located in SSB 110, can be reached by telephone at 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at dprc@sfsu.edu."
  • Circular seating arrangements offer Deaf or hard-of-hearing students the advantage of seeing all class participants, especially in a seminar setting.
  • For the lecture setting, keep front seats open for students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing and their interpreters/Computer-Aided Real-Time Transcription (CART) Reporters.
  • Repeat the comments and questions of other students, especially those from the back rows; acknowledge who has made the comment so the Deaf or hard-of-hearing student can focus on the speaker.
  • Assist the student with finding an effective notetaker from the class, if the student is eligible for the service.
  • If possible, provide transcripts of audio information.
  • Face the class while speaking. If an interpreter is present, make sure the student can see both you and the interpreter.  Request the handout, "Tips for Working with an Interpreter," from the DPRC.
  • If the student is using a CART Reporter, please ensure that an A/C outlet is available for his/her use. Request the handout, “Tips for Working with a CART Reporter,” from the DPRC.
  • If there is a break in the class, get the Deaf or hard-of-hearing student's attention before resuming class.
  • Because visual information is a Deaf student's primary means of receiving information, films, overheads, diagrams, and other visual aids are useful instructional tools.  Spoken dialogue and commentary in films, videotapes, DVDs, and online course websites, should be presented with captions.
  • Be flexible: allow a Deaf or hard-of-hearing student to work with audio-visual material independently and for a longer period of time.
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, ask him or her.
  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e., avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class).

Information/Tip Sheets

The DPRC has also developed the following information/tip sheets with the goal of making everything go smoothly between you and the Deaf or hard-of-hearing student:

If your questions are not answered by what is in the information/tip sheets, please contact the DPRC at (415) 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or dprc@sfsu.edu.