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Resources for Teachers

As a teacher, having a child with hearing loss in your classroom can initially seem challenging. However, with some very minor changes to classroom management, deaf and hard of hearing children can be fully contributing members of your class, and can provide a unique new perspective for both teachers and other students alike.

The Hint and tips for teachers with deaf students resource is predominantly for primary school teachers, though many of the tips would work just as well for secondary, even tertiary teachers. We would encourage you to print the document and talk through it with the family of the deaf or hard of hearing child before they start in your classroom.

The New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children (NZFDC) aims to provide resources and assistance on classroom management, dealing with health and education professionals, and general information for teachers with Deaf and hard of hearing children in their classrooms.

We are always open to questions, and would love to hear from you if you have found a wonderful resource you would like to share with other teachers, so please don't hesitate to contact us.

Hints and tips for teachers with deaf students

Tips from a Deaf secondary school student

Zoe is a Deaf teenager attending high school, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is Zoe's first language.

She has some good tips for relief teachers in this short video.

Research, family perspectives and points to think on

There are many research papers into many different aspects of educating deaf or hard of hearing children from preschool right through to secondary school. There are many differing opinions, and families will make their decisions based on many aspects that you may have no idea of.

As with so many parts of teaching, your role will be to support the child in whatever way the parents have chosen. You may have met a child with hearing aids who uses New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), or another child who is completely oral and uses no sign.

Be aware that signing to a child who has, up to that point had no access to sign, may frighten them. Conversely, if you have a child in your class who uses sign language to communicate, some basic starter signs will make the transition just a little easier for that child, and include them far more in your classroom.

Before the child starts, it is very important to sit down with the parents of that child and discuss

  • What their expectations are for their child?

  • Their mode of communication and how best you will support this?

  • What the child's experiences of education have been so far?

  • What technology the child uses, and how you will be supporting this (particularly for younger children, you may find yourself in the position of helping a child to change batteries on hearing aids)

Understanding deaf and/or hearing loss in the classroom

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing, a guide for educators is a Ministry of Education publication found on the Inclusive Education, guides for schools website. It covers what is hearing loss, use of technology and strategies for teaching, and offers real life examples from a student and teacher perspective.

Acoustics and Socialisation - For Teachers - Things to be aware of within a classroom to ensure that all children have access to conversation within the classroom, and the importance of 'overhearing'.

'The Starting School checklist' on the Auzzie Deaf Kids website, is a list of things to take with you when deciding on the school your child will attend. 

Cochlear Implant School Toolkit

While this is a set of resources aimed at children with cochlear implants, many of the resources work for children with hearing aids. The kit provides information for parents, for teachers and for schools, along with printable resources and DVD's. 


Assistive technology

The Ministry of Education's assistive technology service endeavours to ensure that students with special education needs have the right technology at the right time to remove barriers to learning and to raise achievement. The Centre for Assistive Technology (CAT) maintains up-to-date knowledge of a wide range of assistive technology options that will support students with special education needs in New Zealand; and provides advice, support and information on assistive technology solutions.

Centre for Assistive Technology (CAT) Information sheet for deaf and hard of hearing

Inclusive Education - Guides for Schools

This website provides New Zealand educators with practical strategies, suggestions and resources to support learners with diverse needs. Each guide on this site includes a series of strategies supported by suggestions. 

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing learning guide