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12 Things Every Deaf Sign Language Teacher Should Know about Hearing Learners

See more: Teaching Hearing Subjects: 12 things you should know

There are quite a few books and some research about hearing teachers and deaf learners: what every hearing teacher should know about Deaf learners. For instance, Deaf learners think visually. Deaf learners don’t want to read about things, they want to see them. And of course, Deaf people want their teacher to use sign language.

OK, this is similar, but for Deaf teachers. “What every Deaf Teacher should know about hearing learners”. Specifically: about hearing learners who want to learn sign language.

Warning 1: all hearing learners are different, not one size fits all hearing learners! There are always exceptions to every rule!

Warning 2: I am a hearing person, and none of this is based on research. It’s just the personal perspective of, basically, one hearing person.

So: yes, try this at home. Use this information when you interact with your learners. But use it wisely. Don’t blame me, if your learners come in many different sizes!

Warning 3: There may well be 100 or more things that you should know, about teaching sign language to hearing learners. To keep things manageable, I wrote down 12 things to start with.

You can read them in any order you want. Some may be so obvious that reading about them is boring. Some may be about things that you’ve noticed, but never really thought about. Some may be new to you. A few have recommendations. Many of these recommendations are about patience: please be patient with us! Hearing learners really are different from Deaf learners. What is very easy, very ‘normal’ for you, can be difficult or strange, for us.


Liesbeth Pyfers
October 2015