Joy Jarvis and Pamela Knight
The students on the art course were to undertake research on an individually chosen artist for discussion in a seminar group the following week. The deaf student in the group worked hard to produce material on his chosen subject, 'Constable'. It was only when he came to present his material that he discovered that the spoken instructions for the task had been, 'Choose a portrait artist…'
More and more deaf students are entering higher education institutions and following courses alongside their hearing peers. This means that it is likely that lecturers in HE will have a deaf student in their class at some time in their teaching. Providing equality of access to the content of courses and to all the facilities and potential gains of higher education requires appropriate support systems. It also requires awareness and skills on the part of academic, research and support staff who deliver the courses and on the part of hearing student peers. As shown in the example above, even missing one word in an instruction can mean the difference between success and failure.
This chapter looks at issues for deaf students in a higher education context, and ways in which identifiable needs can be met by staff and institutions. While deaf students are all individuals, there are a number of issues that may be common to all, to a greater or lesser extent, and a range of strategies is available which can be tailored to meet individual needs.