National Deaf History Month – Resources for Teachers

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By:
Cross Country Education
Posted:
April 14, 2022 01:58 AM (GMT-04:00)
Categories:
Educator Resources

April is National Deaf History Month, the ideal time to teach your students about the history and accomplishments of the deaf and hard of hearing community. As educators, it’s critical to teach our students how to embrace differences and celebrate others, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

National Deaf History Month is celebrated from April 1-30. However, until 2022, it was celebrated from March 13 to April 15 to mark three significant dates in deaf education history:

  • April 15, 1817 – The nation’s first public school for the deaf was opened.
  • April 8, 1964 – Gallaudet University, the first and only university in which all programs and services are designed for deaf and hard of hearing students, was opened.
  • March 13, 1988 – Galluadet University appointed its first deaf president.

Teacher Resources for National Deaf History Month

Here are a few of our favorite resources to explore different facets of deaf culture, deaf history, and the deaf and hard of hearing community with your students, not only during April, but year round:

5 Deaf Educators Share Inclusivity Tips to Embrace in Your Classroom – This resource from National Geographic Education gives insights from teachers who are deaf and hard of hearing on how to create more inclusive learning environments. Tips include making all materials accessible for deaf students; using creative methods like Siri, paper and pencil or the ASL app to communicate; and viewing deaf and hard of hearing people as a different linguistic group rather than a disability group.

How to Use and Teach Sign Language (ASL) in Your Classroom – This page, from weareteachers.com, helps students connect with members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Here, you’ll find videos on teaching sign language, using sign language for classroom management, the sign language alphabet and more. There are also free printables, flashcards, puzzles and signs.

History of the Deaf – Britannica.com has an extensive article with helpful information for teachers and students. For example, it covers early deaf communities, like Martha’s Vineyard, which had a large population of deaf people coexisting with hearing people from the 17th to mid-20th century. In certain towns on the island, nearly everyone used sign language, and deafness was accepted as a regular part of daily life.

How to Help Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing Succeed in School – We Are Teachers has a helpful article educators can use to ensure their classrooms are inclusive. It has tips like arranging seats in a circle or horseshow, making eye contact, providing vocabulary lists in advance, checking for understanding, using technology, etc. 

11 Ways to Honor Deaf Awareness – This site, from theonlineitinerant.com has creative ideas to build awareness and sensitivity around being deaf. Suggestions include reading books and watching movies with deaf characters, researching famous deaf people who changed the world, and inviting a person who is deaf or hard of hearing to visit the classroom.

We hope this list inspires you to celebrate National Deaf History Month with your students this April. Get creative and have fun while teaching kids about deaf and hard of hearing history and culture!

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