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EDUCATION OF SPECIAL CLASSES.
1.-EDUCATION OF THE DEAF AND DUMB.
In the history of the education of the deaf two events of unusual importance occurred the present year: First, the Eleventh Convention (quadrennial) of Amer. ican Instructors of the Deaf, held at the California Institution, Berkeley, Cal., írom July 15 to July 23, 1886; second, President Gallaudet's mission to Englaud.
ELEVENTH CONVENTION OF AMERICAN INSTRUCTORS OF THE DEAF. But little information relative to the convention at Berkeley is now available, inasmuch as the proceedings have not yet been published. We glean from the "Amer. ican Annals of the Deaf” the following account:
“The convention was called to order on Thursday morning, July 15, by President E. M. Gallaudet, chairman of the executive committee, who, after some appropriate remarks referring to this and previous conventions, nominated the Hon. Erastas Brooks, president of the Board of Directors of the New York Institution, as temporary chairman. Mr. Brooks was elected, and on taking the chair made the first of several eloqnent addresses. On Wednesday afternoon, the Governor of the State and other notabilities being present, a large part of the session was given up to addresses of welcome and congratulation. From this time forward all the afternoons, except those of Saturday and the final Thursday, were devoted to the regular business of the convention, including the reading of papers and discussions. There was also an interesting meetng on Sunday afternoon for the consideration of moral and religious instruction, and the closing session was held on Thursday evening?
“The convention, as usual, did little in the way of votes and resolutions, but, allow. ing the utmost freedom in the expressions of views, left the members at liberty to pursue such methods of instruction as each thought best. It did, however, adopt unanimously the following resolutions offered by President Gallaudet::
“Whereas the experience of many years in the instruction of the deaf has plainly shown that among the members of this class of persons great differences exist in mental and physical condition, and in capacity for improvement, making results easily possible in certain cases which are actually unattainable in others, these di ferences suggesting very widely different treatment with different individuals: It is therefore:
“Resolved, That the system of instruction existing at present in America conmends itself to the world, for the reason that its tendency is to include all known methods and expedients which have been found to be of value in the education of the deaf, while it allows diversity and independence of action, working at the same time in harmony, and aiming at the attainment of a common object by all.
“Resolved, That earnest and persistent endeavors should be made in every school for the deaf to teach every pupil to speak and read from the lips, and that such efforts should only be abandoned when (after thorough tests by experienced teachers) it is plainly evident that the measure of success attainable is so small as not to justify the necessary amount of labor."
DR. GALLAUDET'S MISSION TO ENGLAND,
“President Gallaudet sailed for England October 9, 1886. The day before he left home he received the following pleasant letter in President Cleveland's own handwriting:
"From the President of the United States.)
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, October 6, 1886. “Professor E. M, GALLAUDET.
“MY DEAR Sir: I am very glad to learn that you have been invited to give infor. mation before a comunission organized under the auspices of the British Government to inquire concerning the subjects of the education of the blind and the deaf.
“A country that has contributed so largely as ours from the public funds for these purposes, and with such gratifying results, ought to be able to furnish much that is Stato report, p. 247.
3 Ibid., p. 249. 2 Ibid., p. 248.
•Ibid., pp. 249, 250. 632
interesting and profitable in such an investigation, and no person, I believe, can better represent our achievements in this field of inquiry than yourself.
"I hope that the trip you are to make in answer to this invitation will be pleasant, and in furtherance of the objects you have so earnestly at heart. “Yours, sincerely,
"GROVER CLEVELAND. “President Gallandet appeared twice before the commission. On the first occasion he spoke almost continuously for five hours, and on the second occupied five hours in answering questions asked by members of the commission."
"As the sessions were not public, and Dr. Gallandet's testimony will be printed in full by the commission, in connection with its official report, on the conclusion of its labors, we are only permitted to give the following memoranda of the topics of his testimony:
"1. General statistics of the deaf in the United States.
"2. The exterior organization of schools for the deaf, manner of government, relation to the state, &c.
"3. The interior organization of such schools, their number in the United States, cost of buildings and of support, number of pupils and of teachers. “4. Methods of instruction, duration of pupilage, courses of study, &c. "5. The higher education of the deaf as provided for in the college at Washington. “6. Industrial education in the American schools for the deaf.
"7. Condition of the deaf after leaving school, occupations followed, clannish associations as affected by different methods of instruction, intermarriage, &c.
"8. Qualification and compensation of teachers, division of duties between the principal and his subordinate officers, &c.
49. Conferences of principals and conventions of teachers; their influence and value in the work of educating the deaf in America.
“10. Periodicals published in the interest of the education of the deaf, and of the deaf themselves considered as a special class in the community.
"Dr. Gallandet was very courteonsly treated by the members of the commission, both in their official capacity and individually. They listened apparently with great interest to his testimony, and by their questions showed an intelligent appreciation of the information he laid before them."
REPORTS OF INSTITUTIONS.
The oral class in the Alabama Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, at Talladega, authorized by law at the last session of the General Assembly, has been inaugurated, and Bliss Mary B. C. Brown, of Philadelphia, placed in charge. Time enough has not elapsed to give a decided opinion as to the value of oral instruction in an institution where signs are chiefly relied upon as a means of instruction.
The Arkansas Deaf-Mute Institute, at Little Rock, has made a radical change in the system of teaching. The aim has been to make language the chief object of instruction; and the system is to teach sentences instead of long vocabularies of disconnected words. The classes which have been taught by this method a year use language better than those which have been for two years under the system formerly in use.
The work in toaching articulation last year was highly satisfactory. The ability to speak varies from speech so imperfect as to be scarcely intelligible to speech so nearly perfect that it would hardly be called peculiar. The system used is Bell's system of visible speech.
Every department of the American Asylum, at Hartford, Conn., is in excellent working condition, and the results attained were never so uniformly good as they are now.
Fifty-four pupils are receiving instruction in articulation and lip-reading. In some cases the success is very marked. Others have an equal amount of speech but less of lip-reading. Others have a more restricted use of speech, but are excellent lipreaders. Still others are quite limited in the use of both speech and lip-reading, but yet have enough to be useful to them in the family and among intimate friends.
The pupils receive instruction in three trades, viz, cabinet-making, shoemaking, and tailoring. There are now 36 boys at work in the cabinet shop, 27 boys in the shoe shop, and 23 boys and 4 girls in the tailors' shop. Most of the girls learn to sew and to do some of the lighter parts of housework.
Drawing is carefully taught in order to cultivate the hand and the eye, and as a preparation for understanding working plans in the mechanical arts, and as laying the foundation for designing and other art work for those who show special talent in these lines.
The Indiana Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, at Indianapolis, has bestowed special attention during the year upon what is called the “oral method.” Fifty-eight pupils have
"American Annals of the Deaf, January, 1887, p. 23. ? Ibid., p. 24.
received instruction in articulation and lip-reading. The instruction is supplemented by practice in oral talking and lip-reading in the various sign classes, among the pupils themselves, upon the play-ground and in the study-room, and especially while in intercourse with the speaking and hearing teachers, ofticers, and employés.
The shops connected with the institution for the purpose of industrial education have been leased, with all the tools, &c., to lessees, who agree to teach the boys cabi. net and shoo making and chair-caning in consideration of the lease. The superiotendent, however, recommends that “the industrial department be taken from under the ban of the lease system.”
In the nineteenth annual report, 1886, of the Clarke Institution for Deaf- Mutes, at Northampton, Mass., are found some sentiments on "unjust taxation and discrimination." There is an obvious injustice in taxing the parents of the deaf and blind to educate everybody's children but their own, while compelling them either to bear their burdens unaided or to leave their
children uneducated, or to make a prescribed arowal of poverty to be verified by official signatures as a condition of educational help. “It is to be hoped that Massachusetts, with all her prestige in educational matters, after spending millions to establish and maintain the best of institutions, from the primary school to the university, for the education of the hearing, will not much Ionger figure in that minority of 'states which still discriminate against children of four senses.
The Minnesota Institute for Defective Children, at Faribault, reports a substantial im. provement, made during the past two years, viz, the gymnasium provided and fitted up in the basement of the new building. It has been pronounced one of the best gympasia in the State. Its beneficial influence on the school last year was very marked, especially during the long, cold winter, when the pupils were reluctant to exercise in the open air. The pupils are confined at their regular duties between eight and nine hours daily, and without a gymnasium it is almost impossible to prevail upon them to pay proper attention to daily exercise, especially in winter.
The experiment of applying the kindergarten ideas and methods to the education of the blind has been carried on with more or less interruption during the last two
The training of the hand to respond to the will, the cultivation of ideas of harmony and symmetry, and the development of a certain amount of originality and ingenuity are results amply sufficient to warrant giving the kindergarten a permanent place in the school system of the blind.
The Pennsylvania Oral School for the Deaf, at Scranton, has been in operation about two years.
The advanced class, consisting of eight pupils, has been under oral instruction about fourteen months. Two of them had had some instruction in sigos, and are consequently behind the rest of the class in speech." The principal work of the teacher bas been to develop speech and language, and the pupils in this class talk with much freedom. They also read the lips of their teachers very well, and several of them read each other's lips well. Two of them lost hearing by sickness, after acquiring some speech--one at six years of age and one at soven. There was no pupii who had enough hearing to learn to talk before coming to school.
The principal of the school in her last report quotes from the Abbe Tarra, 'president of the International Congress of 1880, who has had nearly thirty years' experience in teaching the deaf, first by sign method, then by combined method, and latterly by the pure oral. He says: “All of the deaf capable of being taught by means of signs are capable of being taught by means of speech without exception." Also : Children who are being taught by oral method should be kept absolutely away from sigas and the manual alphabet."
In the Texas Deaf and Dumb Asylum, at Austin, twenty-four pupils are taught lipreading and articulation. Of this class thirteon are semi-mutes and eleven are congenital mutes.
The teaching of lip-reading and articulation has in view the association of deafmutes with hearing and speaking people and prepares them for social and business intercourse with the world. This intercourse can be carried on through the pencil and slate, but, where possible, more easily and pleasantly through the lip and eye. Lip-reading and articulation have not yet been taught in this institution long enough to realize the highest results, but the progress made gives promise of such attainments.
The West Virginia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, at Romney, adopted the articulation mode of instruction in November, 1885.
Miss Agnes Grimm took charge of a class of twenty-two pupils, none of whom knew a solitary thing about the art of articulation, lip-reading, or of speech, and only six of whom had ever been able to hear in the least. Now, all of these twenty: two pupils, to a greater or less extent, understand lip-reading and conversation, and articulate themselves, many of whom having made marked progress in that direction, so much so that they can talk with each other without the intervention of their teacher.