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Flipped Classroom Model and the Challenges Facing Students who are DHH

flipped classroom model for students dhh

The Flipped Classroom model is a relatively new educational concept that is fast becoming more common in mainstream classrooms in Minnesota.

“Teachers are ‘flipping’ the classes, meaning, they are creating videos of their lectures and posting them on YouTube or their class website. The students watch the video lectures at home and then come to school the next day to do the homework in class with the teacher there to guide them,” explained Taylor Thomas, Itinerant Teacher of Students who are DHH, Intermediate District 917.

Research shows the flipped classroom model has improved academic performance and engagement for many typical learners. Some areas of concern about the model are in the quality of the video lectures, adequate technology access to stream videos for students, and the student’s motivation level to watch the videos. For students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) there is very little research to indicate what affect the flipped classroom model has had, but special education teachers are finding the concept has unique challenges for their students.

“The issue that we, as teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing, are running into is that these teacher-made videos are not always accessible to our students,” Taylor points out.
General education teachers create their own or find existing videos online to support their specific topic, which works for the majority of their students. However, access to the audio content in the videos is not available or easy to accommodate for students who DHH.

“Since general education teachers are creating the videos of their lectures their faces are not always on screen for lip-reading. Sometimes the teachers just capture their screens and voice-over what they are doing. Additionally, teachers are not typically captioning this content, which makes it very difficult for students who rely on captioning to access the videos,” said Taylor adding, “General education teachers who are flipping their classes also pull other content and videos from the internet and YouTube. This also poses a challenge when that content is not captioned and not owned by the teacher, because there is not a way for it to get captioned unless the owner of the video is contacted and willing to caption it.”

Taylor offers several suggestions of ways to provide captioned videos for students who are DHH. If a teacher has a prepared script typed out when making their video, they can upload the text and time the captions to the video. Also, YouTube or other video editing programs have speech-recognition software that generates captions automatically, along with many tutorials on how to do it. Typically this process is not 100% accurate so teachers may need to edit and time the captions correctly. Also, teachers could ask other students to volunteer their time to caption the videos. National Honors Society students or students just looking for meaningful service hours would welcome the opportunity.

“The goal is to share ideas to help educators have an efficient way to add accurate captions to their media being shown in classes. We all know that all educators are crunched for time with all the demands placed on them, so by partnering and finding cost-free solutions, we believe everyone benefits,” said Ann Mayes, Lead Teacher and Itinerant Teacher of Students who are DHH, Intermediate District 917. Captioning videos takes time, but greatly benefits more students than just those who are DHH. Ann Mayes points out a national research study that concluded 98.6% of all students, hearing or DHH, find captioning helpful. The study found captioned videos improve student’s comprehension and helped them to focus better. Typically hearing students and ESL students also use captions as a learning aid. More information about the national research study can be found here.

A flipped classroom model that provides accessible lecture videos could be just as beneficial to students who are DHH. Students could watch videos at their own pace and as many times as necessary. Also, by watching the lectures prior to class, students would receive important background information about topics and they could better prepare questions for their teachers.

For parents, the flipped classroom model shifts how they would normally support their child at home. Instead of helping them understand the homework assignment, parents will be encouraging them to watch the lecture videos. The advantage is parents too can watch the lecture videos and have a better understanding of the lessons their child is learning. This helps parents support their child consistent with the way the teacher is presenting the lesson in school.

Parents can advocate for their child by asking the general education teachers questions about the flipped classroom model. They can share ideas about ways the teacher can better provide an accessible learning environment for students who are DHH.

Regarding accessible videos and materials for students who are DHH Ann Mayes adds, “Having parents involved helps make the process move along even faster. It’s important that parents understand their questions and words carry clout, which helps teachers of DHH students move the education teams along as well.”