Toffolon Visitor Raises Awareness
Posted on 01/21/2020
Mike Posner Demonstrating at Toffolon

On January 9th, Louis Toffolon Elementary School fifth graders in Nicole Siegel’s class and third graders in Doug Caneday's class enjoyed a visitor as part of the Plainville school district's efforts to raise awareness about deaf and hard of hearing students. Mr. Mick Posner, father of Toffolon students Faith and Henry Posner, as well as a faculty member in the  West Hartford Public Schools' World Languages Department, visited the Toffolon classes to do a demonstration and give students an authentic experience  of what it is like to be a deaf person in a classroom. 

During the interactive demonstration, students used noise-cancelling headphones in a setting where they had to listen in a noisy environment for instructions related to recreating a picture shown on a SmartBoard. The overall response from students after completing the exercise was that it was a positive learning opportunity, and several students shared that they felt it was a  strange experience to not only be able to not hear (with the headphones on) but also frustrating  in the sense of trying to work around communication barriers. 

The visit wrapped up with a brainstorming session regarding how to improve communication among the group in the classroom. In both sessions, it was agreed that eye contact, at the very least, is the most pivotal approach. Mr. Posner also reminded students that no matter, if communication ever fails, there is always a way around everything, especially with pen and paper.