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07 May 2024

Unlocking potential: Building inclusive classrooms for deaf students

by Tasha Ghouri, Campaigner and Entrepreneur
Unlocking potential: Building inclusive classrooms for deaf students

My deafness is my superpower.

I was born without the small hairs in my cochlea. When I was younger, I saw it as a negative, but my Dad helped me realise it was a strength. I can be deaf whenever I want to, and I can enjoy it. If there’s an annoying sound, I can choose not to hear it. It’s beautiful, and it makes me feel empowered; it makes me feel independent; it makes me feel like a superhero. Today, I don’t connect with the term ‘disability’ – and that’s something I want to encourage all young people to feel.

The path to self-acceptance

I didn’t always feel empowered or confident. When I was at school, teachers would wear a radio mic around their necks, and the sound would feed right into my cochlear implant so I could hear what they were saying. But I was really embarrassed to use it. I was embarrassed to walk up to the teacher at the start of class and ask, ‘Can you wear this?’ I would think, ‘this is so not cool’.

Now I wish I’d used that more. This technology can really benefit a student’s experience. We need to be mindful of the power of these tools, while advocating for accessibility and encouraging students to speak up for their needs.

Creating inclusive classrooms

Educators can do this in little ways, every day: for example, take a British Sign Language course, learn some basics. One thing I really struggled with in school was when teachers turned away from me in class. I couldn’t see their faces anymore so couldn’t lip-read. As the only deaf pupil in the school, I felt shy and didn't feel like I could say anything about it.

Being aware of these needs and making small changes – facing the classroom, not covering your mouth when you’re talking, learning basic sign language – can make a big difference for students and their experience in the classroom.

More than that, it’s important to not treat students any differently. In school, I felt like I was an outcast and not really included. Educators and mentors need to be patient and help students of all abilities feel included in activities, because not having that safe space, not having that understanding, can feel very isolating.

Empowering tomorrow’s superheroes

Today I’m dedicated to raising awareness about inclusion. We need to open minds and shift attitudes about what deaf young people are capable of. Students need to be shown that the things unique to them are their superpowers.

That may come with challenges, but we need to teach young students that when they overcome the obstacles in front of them, whatever they are, they get stronger, and they’ll gain their confidence step by step. We need to let students know: Nobody else can be you. You’re the only one with your strengths, your personality, your experience, your insights. That’s your biggest power.


Since finishing as a finalist in Series 8 of Love Island, Tasha has gone on to cement herself in the fashion industry, working with sustainable and high-end brands. Tasha is the first pre-loved ambassador for eBay and partners with other premium brands like L'Oréal Paris, Cadbury, Ann Summers and Essie. In 2021, she was praised for an ASOS campaign where she modelled earrings while wearing her implant and became a figurehead in the deaf community.

Tasha launched her podcast  in February 2023, which focuses on normalising disabilities, exploring what once made her feel like an outcast but is now her greatest source of strength and community. She is a keen advocate for inclusivity and her goal is to raise awareness around topics that are sometimes seen as taboo. Before gaining her platform of 1.4 million engaged Instagram followers, Tasha worked with DeafKidz International and is now their global ambassador, helping to raise funds for deaf children in underprivileged countries. She also works alongside UK charities Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to help those with hearing impairments. Follow Tasha at @tashaghouri.


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