K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Daniel Lunk
Date created
October 2010
Flash Video
This video copyright ©2010. Terms of use

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Deaf students benefit in many ways from being educated in inclusive settings, but it is also crucial for them to have opportunities to interact socially with other deaf people. In this video, experts explain why social interaction is so important and share ideas for connecting deaf students to Deaf culture both within the school and outside it.

This video is one in a seven-part series about educating deaf students in the inclusive classroom. The other videos include:

The videos are associated with the article “Deaf Learners and Successful Cognitive Achievement.”


Mary V. Compton, Ph.D. (00:09)
It would be very important for teachers of, or general educators to understand more about Deaf culture and the role that Deaf culture plays in a deaf student’s life. Now it’s very important for a deaf student, I would say, it’s crucial for a deaf student to have socialization with other deaf students. Many times in public school situations a deaf student may feel very isolated because there’s no other deaf student there. So if you can understand the importance of that in terms of increasing a deaf student’s self-esteem, identity is very, very important, particularly with children who are in middle school and high school, because they need to know they are part of a certain group. And if you remember back to your middle school and high school days, your peer group was very important to you. So are there opportunities for you to maybe even collaborate with the teacher of the deaf who might know other students who are deaf, so maybe have some after-school club for deaf students, or — the teacher of the deaf can help you with this — are there any adult deaf individuals in the community that the child could start interacting with? And there are certain special events, like different areas have like regional resource centers for the deaf, or different associations for the deaf. I know they are in fairly large cities, but they will have like picnics, get-togethers, social events, sometimes they’ll have silent dinners when they’ll go out to a restaurant all together. I think it would be very important for you to help the deaf student have access to those kinds of social events. Because the lack of hearing really creates a great deal of social isolation that can lead to a lot of other negative self images. So I think that if you understand the role of social interaction amongst deaf people.
Kathy Metzer (02:13)
At our school, we have Deaf Awareness Week, and during that time on the announcements in the morning, we share Deaf facts. We also do it when the deaf students come into the resource classroom. We have opportunities for deaf adults come and do some storytelling. We really want to do more of that next year. We have Deaf Field Day where the deaf students from this county and all the surrounding counties — Wake Forest University is kind enough to let us use their soccer facility — and all the deaf kids from signers to cue-ers to the auditory-oral and we have this day of having races, they have different age groups set up. It’s a great way for the kids to see that there are other deaf people. So there’s opportunity that we try to get the information home so that parents can let their child be involved in what goes on in the community. It’s interesting because the kids’ eyes will just light up when they know that somebody else knows sign language. But it’s also good for them to see, some kids wear hearing aids, some kids use cued speech, and some kids can learn to talk. And we do try to find books and show them about deaf people who are famous, or deaf people who have play athletic sports, that they can do it, and just talk to them about you can’t give up, and that’s what I tell them: You never, never, never can give up.
Mary V. Compton, Ph.D. (04:25)
I think to put oneself in the position of not having access to information, you can understand how deaf people want to be included, they have a very rich culture, a very bonded culture, and we who are hearing sometimes don’t necessarily understand that. But I think in order to value someone as an individual and to give them access to communication so they can become part of larger society, and have the same educational, professional, and employment opportunities as everyone else.