Skills Needed for Teaching Hearing-Impaired Adolescents

The Perceptions of Teachers

John L. Luckner

Key words: Information/Research Studies

This study was done to gain insight into what secondary level teachers feel are the most important competencies for working with hearing-impaired adolescents. There were 18 competencies that were considered essential for teaching adolescent students.

As students enter higher levels of education they usually encounter materials, content and ideas that are increasingly complex, abstract, and sophisticated. Some hearing-impaired students are able to keep up academically with their peers. However, many hearing-impaired individuals have academic problems as well as personal, social and career development problems. Data on this subject reveals that hearing-impaired adolescents display specific problems and limited growth during those years.

The results of this academic underdevelopment are evident after high school ends. These students tend not to be involved in productive activities such as work or school. They are also more depressed and have fewer friends than their hearing-impaired peers.

There are many factors that effect the development of hearing-impaired adolescents. One important element is the quality of education that they receive. Recent studies have found that most teacher preparation programs emphasize elementary school content. There aren't courses that specifically teach secondary school skills. Only a little more than 50% of programs require students to do a practicum experience on the secondary level. "It seems that educators of hearing-impaired adolescents weren't prepared to work with secondary level developmental issues or curriculum material and did not have secondary level practicum teaching experiences prior to accepting their current positions." (423)

This study was done as a first step to gain knowledge on the educational programming needs of hearing-impaired adolescents. Secondary level teachers were asked what they thought the essential competencies for working with hearing-impaired students are.

The procedure for this study required the teachers to provide information and survey a list of competencies in two ways. First , they used a five point scale to indicate whether the competency was one they felt teachers of hearing-impaired students should have. Then they used a five point scale to judge the degree of training they had in that competency area.

The results of this study found that "teaching language, reading, written language, daily living skills, decision-making skills, and problem solving skills; promoting emotional development; and teaching academic subjects and social skills were all rated extremely high". (p 424) Overall teachers felt that they had less training than needed to provide these educational services to hearing-impaired students. In the section designed for teachers to add skills they thought were important but weren't included in the list of competencies many teachers felt that fluent sign skills were necessary.

There were two main points discussed in the study. The first is that teacher preparation programs should re-evaluate their curricula to determine if future hearing-impaired teachers who end up working with secondary students will be prepared. The next point was that certification agencies should take a closer look at the requirements needed for hearing-impaired teachers. Finally, state agencies don't encourage the development of specialized skills. Most states have a K-12 certificate for hearing-impaired teachers opposed to elementary or secondary. It is necessary for teacher preparation programs and state departments of education to work together to raise the standards of certification for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Teachers must have skills that allow them to identify and evaluate the educational needs of all hearing-impaired children and youth and develop one level or area of specialization such as parent-infant education, early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, vocational education, and education of multihandicapped deaf students.

Luckner, L. John, Skills Needed for Teaching Hearing-Impaired Adolescents: The Perceptions of Teachers, American Annals of the Deaf, Vol. 136 (No. 5), p 422-426.

Uploaded by: Jennifer Waxman/ Kent State University/ Deaf Education Major