#CER100 #1: Long & Kowalske: Understanding STEM Instructors’ Experiences with and Perceptions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Long, M. R., & Grunert Kowalske, M. (2021). Understanding STEM Instructors’ Experiences with and Perceptions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students: The First Step toward Increasing Access and Inclusivity. Journal of Chemical Education. doi: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00409

An interesting and useful paper seeking to explore experiences of teaching faculty regarding teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in a US university. The introduction is a good read and includes description of five common misconceptions held about D/HH students. Even to learn more about these misconceptions makes this paper a valuable read:

  1. That all D/HH people want to hear
  2. That most D/HH people are born to D/HH parents
  3. That all D/HH people know sign language
  4. That D/HH people with hearing aids or cochlear implants can hear/understand speech intelligibly
  5. That most D/HH people can read lips

The authors prefaced their main investigation with student interviews to hear from students about their experiences in STEM. Interview transcripts include some alarming examples of audism (discrimination based on hearing status) – both direct (request to remove “headphone” during an exam or refusal to have interpreter present) and indirect (rearranging meetings with no thought of need to rearrange interpreter).

The authors have developed a thought-provoking survey and share results of their analysis; headlines include that instructors would not, in general feel prepared to teach a D/HH student;  would not know what changes to make; are not aware what university resources are available. Suggestions from those with experience with D/HH students are shared, usefully, including for lectures: having interpreter present, close captions, instructor notes in document form, use of microphones, and for learning materials: close captions, sharing classnotes among students, scribe, spelling out unusual words on board etc. (An important note I will make as an aside: as with all matters relating to support, these things tend to help all students).

The study finishes up with some valuable creative approaches as a basis for next steps and the authors have described and referenced these for further reading. (Referenced below)

  • Smith, S. B.; Ross, A. D.; Pagano, T. Chemical and Biological Research with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students and Professionals: Ensuring a Safe and Successful Laboratory Environment. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2016, 23, 24−31.
  • Franklin, S. V.; Hane, E.; Kustusch, M. B.; Ptak, C.; Sayre, E. C. Improving Retention Through Metacognition: A Program for Deaf/ Hard-of-Hearing and First-Generation STEM College Students. J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 2018, 48 (2), 21−27.
  • Rogers, R. E.; Pagano, T. Intentional Efforts Toward an Inclusive Undergraduate Research Environment for Underrepresented Students. Journal of the Council on Undergraduate Research. 2018, 1 (4), 47.
  • Braun, D. C.; Clark, M. D.; Marchut, A. E.; Solomon, C. M.; Majocha, M.; Davenport, Z.; Kushalnagar, R. S.; Listman, J.; Hauser, P. C.; Gormally, C. Welcoming Deaf Students into STEM: Recommendations for University Science Education. LSE 2018, 17 (3), es10
  • Lynn, M. A.; Templeton, D. C.; Ross, A. D.; Gehret, A. U.; Bida, M.; Sanger, T. J., II; Pagano, T. Successes and Challenges in Teaching Chemistry to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in the Time of
    COVID-19. J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 3322−3326.
  • Clark, K.; Sheikh, A.; Swartzenberg, J.; Gleason, A.; Cummings, C.; Dominguez, J.; Mailhot, M.; Collison, C. G. Sign Language Incorporation in Chemistry Education (SLICE): Building a Lexicon to
    Support the Understanding of Organic Chemistry. J. Chem. Educ. 2021, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c01368.
  • Solomon, C. M.; Braun, D.; Kushalnagar, R.; Ladner, R. E.; Lundberg, D.; Painter, R.; Nuzzo, R. Workshop for Emerging Deaf and Hard of Hearing Scientists (White Paper); Gallaudet University, 2012; https://www.washington.edu/accesscomputing/sites/default/files/manual-upload/WhitePaper-Final_Gallaudet_Emerging_Sci_2_15_13.pdf.
  • Miner, D. L.; Nieman, R.; Swanson, A. B.; Woods, M. Teaching Chemistry to Students with Disabilities: A Manual for High Schools, Colleges, and Graduate Programs, 4th ed.; American Chemical Society, 2001; ISBN 0-8412-3817-0.