Erin Hoefer is a junior Deaf Education major at TU who recently completed her second practicum experience. Read all about her experience teaching about audiograms below:
When young people think of entering the teaching profession, they tend to think of the most basic educational needs that are out there right now. “I’ll teach reading!” “I’ll teach math!” Society tends to agree with them, seeing teachers as someone that just gives basic knowledge. What is not realized is the amount of self-advocacy work that goes into the education profession, and how this can affect students and teachers for quite some time after the lesson has ended.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Deaf Education. I am currently finishing my second practicum at Edison Prepatory School, in a high school Deaf Education classroom. During this time, I have been able to observe teaching practices, learn about testing procedures and get to know the students that make up our classes. I have also had the wonderful opportunity to being planning lessons and teaching this group for 1st hour biology. My first lesson was over parts and lobes of the brain, and how it related to them. It was a good lesson, not my finest, but I realized I was starting to get comfortable in my teaching style with older kids.
I realized what was needed for this group of 15-17 year old young men and women. They needed to understand their role in Deaf Education, gain an understanding of their own hearing loss and how it will affect them later and how to advocate for themselves. I chose to create a lesson based on their own personal audiograms. I made a PowerPoint presentation regarding frequency, decibel levels, the levels of hearing loss ranging from mild to profound and other pertinent information. I then asked them to look at their own audiograms and tell me what their hearing loss levels were. The room was quiet for a moment while everyone looked from the PowerPoint to the numbers on the paper….
…..and the light bulbs started going off. “I have a severe loss?? I thought it was just mild! But I can hear a little without my aids….” The questions started flooding in. What can I hear without my aids? I can hear a dog bark but not water dripping. I can hear the letter A but not the letter S in speech. Can I have an interpreter if I go to college? Will I need to tell my future boss about this?” The level of understanding that I was seeing was phenomenal.
My final assessment was the class bulletin board that they created to explain to me what an audiogram is and what it measures. I was absolutely thrilled when they came through with a wonderfully completed project that they fully understood.
People assume that anyone with a disability or different ability knows how to make their needs known and understand everything about their personal circumstances. The community at large takes understanding hearing for granted. However, for a Deaf Educator, nothing is assumed and everything must be explicitly taught. This includes learning how to advocate for one’s own hearing loss. I plan to keep this lesson for the future in my own classroom, and can’t wait to teach it again.