Hello, again. Last week we looked at a (brief) history of BSL. This week we’ll be covering a similar topic – Deaf Education.
The history of Deaf Education (Part 1) can be found here.
As mentioned in last week’s blog, Thomas Braidwood established the first school for the deaf in Edinburgh in 1870. The school started out by teaching through the oral method, but eventually shifted to a more combined approach when Thomas picked up signs from the pupils.
Braidwood’s school was highly successful, but was only available to those who were rich, and could afford to send their children to his school.
Braidwood also refused to share his teaching methods with anyone else, and kept them a secret. Braidwood was pivotal in the creation of the combined method.
Abbé de l’Épée taught both deaf pupils and other teachers of the deaf from around the world, aiding them in their teaching methods for those who are deaf.
This work was the foundation for American Sign Language (ASL).
Abbé de l’Épée and Heinicke disagreed greatly. Their written correspondence can be found in published works.
Looking at more modern Deaf education, we have previously discussed the impact of the Milan Conference in 1880 and the impact this had on education; the oppression of signed education.
Since 1880, many things have changed in the education of deaf children. Sign language can now be used, although Deaf schools are gradually being closed down with the aim of mainstreaming Deaf pupils.
The argument continues into whether this should happen, and it is a conflict that has been ongoing since the days of the three educators we have discussed.
Abbé de l’Épée, Heinicke, and Braidwood were successful in their own ways, utilising different methods to educate Deaf pupils, with different ideas of what was important in their education. They are the foundation of the history of Deaf education.
Thomas Braidwood didn’t get his own stamp though.
Let me know your thoughts about what we’ve looked at, and tell me what you think the future of Deaf education should look like! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I love to hear from you!