Back to School 2020 Ten tips: set up an inclusive classroom

The start of a new school year is a great time review your classroom and make it more inclusive for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Every student deserves the best chance to thrive in school. These simple tips will help you set up your classroom to be inclusive of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  1. Avoid sitting a student who is deaf or hard of hearing in a noisy part of the classroom. Consider the location of noisy equipment such as air conditioners or computers.

  2. Close classroom doors or windows if it is noisy outside.

  3. Use wall displays to cover and soften large flat surfaces and carpet floors to reduce echoes.

  4. Get into the habit of repeating the questions and answers of other students. Some students have soft voices and may be sitting behind the student who is deaf or hard of hearing.

  5. Position the student who is deaf or hard of hearing so they sit near and facing the teacher, but also so they can see other students. Sitting in a circle can be useful.

  6. Limit walking around when you are talking. A student who is deaf or hard of hearing may not be able to follow what you are saying. Identify a few key places to stand in the classroom where all students can see you clearly.

  7. Face your students when you are speaking to make it easier to lip-read. Make sure your face is evenly lit and you are not standing with windows to your back.

  8. Ensure all students in your class are aware of noises that can amplify hearing aids such as chairs scraping, doors banging, shouting or objects being dropped on the floor. Encourage all students to work quietly.

  9. Put felt on the bottom of pencil containers or on the bottom of chair legs that scrape.

  10. To ensure that videos and educational media used in your classroom are accessible, submit a request to the Victorian Deaf Education Institute (VDEI) Caption Centre. The VDEI Caption Centre offers a fully-subsidised captioning service for all Victorian secondary schools.