Classroom Interpreting

Classroom Interpreters - Interpreters and Children - Fostering Social Interaction

Fostering Peer Interaction

Throughout childhood and adolescence, peer interaction is essential for language, cognitive, and social development. There are aspects of learning that happen best during peer interactions, rather than interactions with adults.

Children acquire language and vocabulary during interactions with others. They learn how to argue, negotiate, and persuade. They must learn to say things without hurting feelings. They must resolve conflicts, apologize, and support.

Peer interaction serves as the foundation for many important aspects of emotional development such as the development of self-concept, self-esteem and identity. Children learn about themselves during interactions with each other and use this information to form a sense of their own selves – who they are. Read more about these skills in the section on Cognitive and Social Development.

In short, peer interaction is not optional during childhood and adolescence. Office of Education Policy Guidelines makes it clear that peer interaction is an important issue to consider when determining placement.

Writing Social Goals Into a Child’s IEP

Social skills are important to lifelong success. They are important to a student’s happiness, self-concept, and learning. If a student has social learning needs, these should be addressed by the educational team. By attending schools where most of the students are hearing, deaf and hard of hearing children often experience social isolation that increases with age. Some creative solutions that address the issue of social isolation are:

Students with Understandable Speech

Some children and youth with understandable speech may be able to negotiate social situations with minimal help. When either the hearing students or the deaf or hard of hearing student needs help understanding speech, the interpreter can provide clarification.

There are two competing goals when working with a student with understandable speech. The student should have access to all communication, including peer interaction. However, a student often needs opportunities to communicate using spoken English. The educational interpreter must make decisions about whether to provide interpreting, whether to provide spoken clarification, or whether to remove herself from the situation. Both the student and the interpreter need to learn about which situations require interpretation and which the student may be able to handle independently.

Students Who Exclusively Sign

Some children who use an interpreter exclusively for communication may need some assistance in negotiating the rules of how hearing children interact. Both the hearing students and the deaf or hard of hearing student may need guidance in how to use the interpreter to talk with each other. The hearing peers may need basic information about hearing loss and how to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing peers.

Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment®
Glossary