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Using DRAGON to Support Hearing-Impaired Students (Regan Thomson)

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Using DRAGON to Support Hearing-Impaired Students (Regan Thomson)



This is just a simple poster presentation to get my feet wet in the world of conference presentations.

The project started as a way to simply help out my first ever hearing-impaired student, as I noticed that his live note-takers that the university provided seemed to miss some important information in class. I then heard about FAB5 coming up from a colleague, so I thought that this might be a good opportunity to learn more myself and then pass that on to others who might be interested.

What I did was try to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice transcription software to transcribe my voice from class and then provide the resulting text to the student for review. I thought that if it worked, it would give him access to the same amount of linguistic input as the other students in the class, and help him to develop at the same pace or even faster than them. If other students wanted the script, they could ask for it too.

From a technological point of view, the software didn't work as well as I'd hoped it to, and I'll show you this weekend excerpts so you can see for yourself.

However, the interesting thing that I found out after interviewing the student was the change in motivation stemming from the simple effort to attempt to support him. I did a bit of reading, and I think I can explain it from a "brain" point of view.

If you get a chance, please come along and have a chat and I'll tell you more about what I found out, and also some handy tips for supporting hearing-impaired students in class that, although small, really add up.

Thanks everyone, hope to see you there.


Very interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing about the changes in motivation. Novelty is a key player within our brains, so I can imagine this approach can be quite affective.



4Using DRAGON to Support Hearing-Impaired Students (Regan Thomson) Empty ways to help your hearing-impaired students on Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:33 am


Hi everyone,

I know that because there were so many great poster presentations and book talks on Sunday a lot of people weren't able to get around to all of the presentations and talks, so I'm just going to let you know some really useful, everyday things that you can do in your classes to assist any hearing-impaired students you might have now or encounter in the future.

  1. Allow for more time than usual. This is key, because inevitably you'll most likely end up speaking more slowly and repeating things so that your student can catch what you're saying. This ties in with...
  2. Write, and then speak. When you're writing on your white/blackboard, a lot of teachers tend to speak at the same time, as this helps students who are writing notes with you to hear at the same time (because they can't see when your body is in the way!), and it saves time. However, hearing-impaired student need to be able to see your mouth moving in order to #1 know that you are speaking, and #2 have a chance to lip-read. This simple thing can help immensely, as it means that students aren't coming in half-way through your sentence. Having said that, this small thing repeated throughout a class will take more time, so be sure to allow for it.
  3. If possible, have PowerPoint slides/notes prepared in advance for the student (and note-taker/s if they exist). If he/she is writing notes themselves, it will help them because they don't have to worry about looking down to write so much and missing what you are saying. If he/she has a note-taker, it helps the note-taker to connect what you are saying to your notes more efficiently.
  4. Speak slowly. This is a no-brainer, but while it is naturally not a good idea to speak TOO slowly, as it robs the student and others of the chance to encounter native-speed target language, it helps them to lip-read and for the note-taker, if there is one, to take more detailed notes.
  5. Use over-exaggerated gestures and different colours and shapes (on the board) for emphasis. Depending on the level of impairment, hearing-impaired students can't hear your emphasis, so they need to SEE it.
  6. Get your student's attention by waving or a touch on the shoulder before speaking.
  7. Have pen and paper ready for one-on-one discussions with your student. This is a small logistical thing that helps organise the time and flow of the class.
  8. If you have a note-taker, when you speak to the student/s, have the note-taker sit BETWEEN you and your hearing-impaired student. This allows the student to glance down and see notes rather than look away.
  9. GET FEEDBACK FROM YOUR STUDENT! If your student is unaware of the things that you are doing to support them, they might not notice and might take them for granted. This could nullify the opportunity for the student to get that "warm fuzzy feeling" that means that the reward centre of his/her brain is not being activated, and he/she is missing out on some emotion-driven learning. It also helps you to know if there is something else you should be doing, or if there is something you don't need to be doing, so you can focus on other things.

I really hope that this helps everyone. Please feel free to contact me via this thread or at regan.thomson@kwansei.ac.jp


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