Students who are hearing impaired or deaf may have either a note-taker or a sign interpreter in the classroom to assist in their learning.  It is very important that the teacher and the child’s support staff member work together to help the child gain full access the curriculum.  The interpreter’s role in the classroom must be clearly defined prior to entering the classroom, so that situations do not arise out of misunderstanding.  The teacher and interpreter should discuss the following areas to insure that the student will receive the most benefit from the services provided:

  • Meet to discuss up-coming lessons and areas in which the child might struggle
  • Provide the interpreter with lesson plans
  • Keep each other informed of the student’s progress
  • Discuss how the student will be disciplined and who is responsible for the discipline
  • Address the student directly, not the interpreter
  • Determine where the interpreter will sit orstand and the interactions he/she will have with the class
  • Determine how the interpreter will let the teacher know if the student does not understand the material
  • Discuss the interpreter’s role in group discussions

The teacher and the interpreter can assure student success in the classroom through constant communication and monitoring of the student’s progress (Easterbrooks, 1998; National Deaf Children’s Society [NDCS], 2004; British Colombia Ministry of Education [BCME], 2001).

The use of a note-taker in the classroom provides the student with the freedom to follow the lesson and receive visual cues from the teacher.  A student who has a hearing impairment or is deaf may have difficulty taking notes and listening at the same time; however, with the use of a note-taker, the problem is eliminated.  Susan Easterbrooks noted that in order for note-taking to be successful, several guidelines need to be followed:

  • The note-taker turns in the notes to the teacher and the teacher reviews them for accuracy
  • The note-taker should be trained in note-taking skills
  • The note-taker should have knowledge of the subject.

At the secondary level, a student with good note-taking skills might be asked to write notes on impress carbon paper.  At the end of class, the student with the hearing loss can receive these notes without delay (Waldron, 2005).  By following the above guidelines, the student should benefit from the note-taker and gain full access the lesson visually without missing any information.