Inclusion in the Classroom of Children with Hearing Loss
As opposed to mainstreaming, which involves the placing of learners with individualized education program in a general education classroom, but still maintains some education time spent with a special educator in a special education classroom, inclusion is different (Schildroth, & Hotto, 1994). According to inclusion, a student with an individualized education program is put in a general education classroom expecting that he will participate in this general education classroom as much as possible. Inclusion aims at bringing the modifications and necessary services for the learner into the general education classroom (Schildroth, & Hotto, 1994). The general education teacher is responsible for providing support and accommodations of the learner in the general education program. In this paper, as a general education teacher, I will include a student with hearing loss into my general education classroom and ensure that I accommodate the student, providing strategies for this accommodation.
Learners with hearing loss regularly enter school with delays in language skills. Research reveals that language delays lead to poor academic performance and learning difficulties in classrooms (Musselman, Lindsay, & Wilson, 1988). Further research indicates that poor communication between the teacher and the hearing impaired students lead to this poor academic performance. There are three types of communication styles that educators can use to meet the communication needs of their learners with hearing loss. These strategies include oral-only, mainly-oral, and simultaneous communication (Musselman, Lindsay, & Wilson, 1988). Oral-only implies using lip reading; mainly-oral refers to the method of using both lip reading and finger spelling; and simultaneous communication implies using lip reading, finger spelling, and signing to educate the general education classroom learners. After conducting literature review on the benefits and disadvantages of each of these education strategies, I intend to use simultaneous communication to assist my hearing loss learners in the general education classroom since it has produced better success than the oral-only and mainly-oral strategies, especially with a single instructor.
In my general inclusive education classroom, I plan to ensure that the sitting arrangement supports learning for students with hearing loss and their general learning counterparts. The learners with hearing loss would sit in the front side by side with a student without a hearing loss to ensure that the learners support each other, and that the learners with the hearing loss can easily see me at a closer distance for easy lip reading, sign reading, and finger spelling. I will encourage cooperation between the students in order to ensure that the students with hearing loss get the necessary support from the other learners, especially in things they are unable to understand through the simultaneous communication strategy. Additionally, the sitting arrangement will work towards reducing discrimination among the students based on hearing impairments.
Managing the students with a wide range of abilities compared to the traditional classroom setting is one of the greatest challenges of inclusive learning. The mixed learning environment has been found to produce different academic and social outcomes. These studies also reveal that successful inclusive classrooms focus on the needs of individual learners. Therefore, to counter this challenge, in addition to the sitting arrangement and the simultaneous communication strategy, I intend to give the students with hearing loss language level-appropriate assignments, use simple and exaggerated speech, and discuss deafness as a culture in the classroom (Stinson, & Antia, 2014). These strategies will help me in creating an effective communicative environment, which is inclusive of the students with diverse needs.
Eriks-Brophy A., & Whittingham J. (2013). Teachers' perceptions of the inclusion of children with hearing loss in general education settings.National Library of Medicine: National Institute of Health. 158(1):63-97.
Stinson M., & Antia S., (2014). Considerations in educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students in inclusive settings. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. (3): 163-175. doi: 10.1093/deafed/4.3.163
Musselman, C., Lindsay, P., & Wilson, A. (1988). An evaluation of recent trends in preschool programming for hearingimpaired children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 53,71–88.
Schildroth, A. N. & Hotto, S. A. (1994). Inclusion or exclusion? Deaf Students and the inclusion movement. American Annals of the Deaf, 139. 239-243.