Teaching Fitness to Hearing-Impaired Students: 7 Effective Strategies for Physical Education Instructors

Handling a Physical Education class of deaf students poses a unique set of challenges for a teacher. It is very crucial to consider the special needs of these children to help them learn fitness despite their hearing loss or impairment.

The key to effective Physical Education instruction to students with special needs is good communication. Here are some strategies to use for new instructors who will teach fitness to deaf students.

1. Learn basic sign language

You cannot teach hearing-impaired students without developing your sign language skills first because this is the only way to give direct commands in your classes. Consider the fact that there are students who can lip read, and some communicate through American Sign Language or Makaton Sign Language. There are even students who use both lip reading and sign language to communicate with their classmates and teachers.

2. Be prepared to perform different communication levels

Not all students are fully hearing-impaired and in one class, you will meet students with a variety of hearing loss levels and preferences when it comes to communication methods. Expect different hearing levels in your Physical Education classes. Some students cannot functionally hear, while others can partially hear with the help of hearing aids.

3. Make the class work together as a group

Make things a lot easier and less of an inconvenience to you by taking advantage of the fact that your students might have been trained to meet their communication needs on their own by being observant in class and following the actions of their classmates.

So for your teaching approach, demonstrate to them what they are supposed to do and then motivate them to work as a group. This will help them make sense of what is going on at the moment.

4. Establish predictability in class through routines

Get your class into a routine that makes it easy for everyone to act right when you do games, warm-ups, and cool-down exercises. Make sure that when you are going to make changes in the routine, you inform your class beforehand.

5. Use a stop-and-look strategy

This teaching method works well when holding your Physical Education class outdoors. The stop-and-look strategy works on the basis of a visual signal in combination with auditory signals. When you provide a signal, such as a wave of a flag or hand, students are expected to stop and look.

6. Create an emergency signal for safety

It is ideal to devise an emergency signal in your first day of class so that your students know that they should go to a safe place should an emergency happen, such as an earthquake, heavy downpours, or a major injury.

7. Always face your students

When you turn your back while talking with your class, it is like you are disrupting your communication lines with them. Of course, how can your students read your lips when they cannot see your face? So always face your class when you are talking to avoid losing your communication with them.

Supporting Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in Learning Music

About 28 million people in the United States are deaf or have hearing difficulties. One of your friends’ kids or a child of your own may have hearing loss or impairment. But that does not mean that their disability can hamper their learning.

In fact, deaf students can learn things such as music and arts. Music plays a significant role in everyone’s lives, deaf or not. Anyone can be like Ludwig van Beethoven who lost his hearing ability in his 20s but produced some of the world-renowned musical masterpieces of all time. Yes, we believe we can produce Beethovens from this generation of deaf, music-loving children.

What is CFM?


Music education is a crucial part of our institution’s mission to expand the horizons of children with hearing problems. Launched in early 2017, the Children for Music (CFM) program was developed by the external affairs board of the Michigan School for the Deaf to raise public awareness about the abilities of deaf students and to gather support for students who love to express themselves through music and want to pursue music as a lifelong passion and craft.

We believe that through CFM, we can provide an excellent music education that deaf students deserve.

The CFM program has three components:

  1. Scholarship – We are supporting teachers who want to teach music to deaf students by making music teaching education more accessible to them. By doing so, we increase the number of teachers available to teach music to deaf students and prepare them well to respond to the specific needs of their students.
  2. Instrumental music – At the Michigan School for the Deaf, we have students with incredible musical talents, specifically playing instruments. In 2015, a school band was formed that is now serving the outlet of students who are inclined to music.
  3. Music appreciation – While some deaf students may not be inclined to become musicians in the future, they appreciate music. Our goal this year is to provide at least 70% of our students with hearing aids to help them feel music better.

How you can support CFM


We have been partnering with government, corporations, and private organizations to make CFM a more effective and inclusive program not just for the students of Michigan School for the Deaf but also other hearing-challenged people in our community.

Now, we are reaching out to individuals who generosity will go a long way in helping deaf people make their music dreams a reality.

There are three ways you can support CFM in meeting its goals for the betterment of deaf students:

  1. Donations in cash and kind – While the Michigan School for the Deaf receives funding from various grants, specialized music education for the deaf is expensive. Your kind contribution will definitely help us provide compensation and scholarships to our music teachers and procuring musical instruments for our school band. If you have any old instruments you are no longer using, we will gladly accept them as donations for our school band.
  2. Sponsor a deaf student – Help a deaf student realize his dreams by sponsoring the cost of his music education.
  3. Work part-time or full-time as a music instructor– Share your music knowledge and skills to our students by spending time with them teaching how to play musical instruments, music appreciation, voice lessons, and others.

Interested in supporting CFM? Contact us and we will respond to you ASAP.

4 Tips on How to Teach Hearing Impaired Students Successfully

Students who are deaf receive information differently than others. They often use an interpreter, lip read, C-print, or through an assistive listening device. To help you teach your student effectively, we have listed down useful tips to help them thrive in learning.

Here are 4 tips on how to teach hearing impaired students successfully.

Adapt to the Classroom

To ensure that the classroom is suitable for deaf students, there are a few steps to take. If possible, turn off any devices or equipment that creates loud noises in the background such as projectors and fans. It is best to eliminate the extra noise to help students with hearing impairments focus on the assignment and tasks at hand. Keep in mind that even students with hearing aids will become distracted by background noise.

Take Considerations in Communication

It is vital to follow effective communication for students with hearing impairments. Not only will this help ensure success but also allow students to interact with each other. It is important to look at students directly and face them when communicating. You can say their name or signal their attention before you speak to ensure that their focus is on you.

No Need to Exaggerate

While you don’t need to exaggerate your lip movements, it helps to slow down how you talk. You can use facial expressions and gestures to help convey your message through body language. Younger students may often fall behind in social development so consider teaching social skills in a game form.

Add Visual Stimulation

Adjust the methods of teaching to help accommodate your student’s need. Provide visual cues and consider providing a laptop for class use. Provide students with a daily outline of their lesson to help them focus on discussions given.

What other tips can you recommend in teaching students with hearing disabilities? Comment below and share your tips with us!

Infographic by: www.worldbank.org