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Good Teaching Practices

Disability Services has provided the following list of tips for good teaching practices that support equal access for all students:

General Tips

Make sure to use appropriate language when referring to individuals with special needs. They should be referred to as “students with disabilities.” Avoid terms such as “handicapped” and “victim.”

Place a statement in your syllabus and make an announcement at the first meeting of the class notifying students of services available to students with disabilities. Ensure that students understand the emphasis on confidentiality and also that you are supportive of students with disabilities.

Encourage students to seek assistance during your office hours and to use campus support services.

Learning Disabilities

Make reading lists available in advance.

In order to meet different learning styles, present information in a variety of ways. For instance, while presenting information orally, accompany content with a visual presentation.

Begin each class session with a brief review of the previous session’s material and conclude each session with a summary of key points.

Always give students opportunities to ask questions and make sure information is clear.

When searching for a textbook, select one with an accompanying study guide for optional student use.

Be very clear about course expectations (in written and oral format), especially with grading, material to be covered, and due dates.

Provide timelines for long-range assignments with sequential steps. For example, a lengthy paper could be assigned as 1) select a topic, 2) write an outline, 3) submit a rough draft, 4) make necessary corrections with approval, and 5) turn in a final draft.

Provide review materials to aid students in mastering course material and preparing for exams.

Facilitate the formation of study groups for students who wish to participate.

Blind/Visual Impairments

If you assign films or videos, try to obtain them with audio support and make them available for students to view outside of class with someone who can act as a “describer”.

When introduced to a person with a visual impairment, let her extend her hand for you to take.

Deaf/Hearing Impairments

If you assign films or videos try to obtain them with a closed captioning option.

Speak clearly and face the class while speaking. Also, when a student speaks in class, repeat comments or questions for the class as necessary.

Always use a normal tone of voice when extending a verbal welcome. Don't raise your voice unless requested.

Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to an interpreter or any other person accompanying him. Never turn to the person with him and ask, "What does he want?"

Physical Disabilities

When introduced to a person with limited hand use or who wears an artificial limb, you may wish to shake the left hand or touch the person on the shoulder or arm.

Be sensitive about physical space in your classroom and other areas in which the class will meet or be assigned to go outside of class. Is there any question of accessibility?