Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, November 12, 1911, EDITORIAL, Image 14

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VOL. XLI. NO. 21.
ow a Deaf Child is Taught to Talk Like Other
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iKARlXG with the cyeu is a rather new
art, but It Is being taught with more
or less sueceB8 ia the schools for the
deaf of the United States, and the
Nebraska school, located in Omaha,
is not behind in this work. ,
As long ago as 1894 Prof. J. A.
Gillespie, then in charge Of this school, had begun
instruction on oral lines. In an interview with
Alexander Graham Bell, printed in The Bee during
a vis-it he made to the Omaha school in that year,
Mr. Bell said:
"The Nebraska institution is celebrated the
world over for its progress in teaching the deaf to
hear. The method in use here was originated by
Trof. J. A. Gillespie and is Vevolutionirlng the man
ner of instructing these unfortunates. For a
number of years teachers in the institution have
been accustomed to ring a dinner bell to summon
their pupils, but it never seemed to occur to any
one that a child that could hear a dinner bell might
be taught to hear speech. It remained for Prof.
Gillespie to attempt this, and he has -demonstrated
that 16 per cent of our deaf mutes could be taught
to hear and speak; and when you consider that
the census of 1SS0 reports about 3 4,000 deaf
mutes in this country, jou see bow important this
matter is.
"The method pursued by this school is to
form those pupils who can hear any loud noise,
such as a dinner bell, into classes, and teach them
to, articulate, thus transforming them from deaf
mutes into ordinary deaf people. While J was in
Kuiope I was questioned very closely about thi3
Nebraska institution and the work it is doing, but
was unable to give a very extended idea of the
matter, as I had never visited it; so I resolved to
avail myself of the first opportunity and investigate
the matter fully. The institution ha gained a
reputation in hla thing which is world wide and has
done more to change the general idea regarding
this subject than anyone every dreamed of."
Vlnce Mr. Bell gave that interview to The
Bee .after visiting the Nebraska school, the Insti
tution has l;ept in the front rank among schools
for the education of the deaf. To convey an under
standing of the new and beKer method as it bus
been developed Bt the present time, it will bo per
tinent to quot Mrs. Arllne B. N. Mots of St. Louis,
a noted and successful teacher.
"Wo beglu at the beginning:," says Mrs. Moss.
"When u deaf person wishe3 ,lo ruaiter lip reading
be tiiust perfectly jut' what staves the Hps
take in making all the souals. The vowels are
!;!i;t?n one by one and the pui-11 i drilled in these
tounds over and over for bouts ut u time. Then
t'..e consonants a:e taken. , It stems almost houe
!ckr to thoui ct f rr-it, but in time they begin to (II s
tii s u I -- I, thcni Ae eoob 6s the vowel and cou--!
i : m'iikIj r.ra mabtcre t then we begin to
iuu v.oi'i. Ii' is like learning to reJ uad to
i tmmrmmrarL'im,iiiiK Mist"? o r
speak all over again. It is practice that doeB it.
I talk some days till I am almost hoarse in an effort
to let the pupil see juat how the letters should be
"Then I sometimes have him practice before
a mirror. In that way ho can watch his own lips
move as he pronounces certain letters or combina
tions of letters."
The method here described is practiced at the
Nebraska school with encouraging success. While
it is bard, at first, for the little ones to comprehend
such a thing as sound, they aro eager to learn and
soon begin to imitate the Hp movements of the
teacher, who must have illimitable patience. Re
ward comes in seeing the gleam of gratification
that comes to their faces when the realization
dawns that they are being asked to make sounds,
and that this is possible. Experienced teachers
bear testimony that, once Interested, the deaf chil
dren develop a wonderfully keen insight. Their
sense of touch is also very acute, and some of
them can detect vibrations of the vocal chords in
a surprising way.
The present number of pupils in the Nebraska
school is ICo, distributed among fifteen classes,
giving an average of eleven pupils to each teacher.
"It will be understood," says Superintendent Booth,
"that instruction is largely individual; therefore
the number of pupils under one teacher must bo
smaller than in the case of hearing children. Es
pecially is this tfiio with oral elr.sses where speech
is taught and lip reading Is the medium of instruc
tion. The best authorities agree that vnl classes,
for best results, should not contain more than from
six to e!ilit children."
The pupils lange in ago from ti to 21, and tba
classes in their work cover ten grades, carrying
them through arithmetic, algebra, Kiigllsh gram
mar, American and l-Jnglisli hiElory, nnd giving a
year of Latin, preparing them for Gallaudet College
for the Deaf, an institution r.iainlr.lned at Wash
ington by the I'nited States j:ovtrni:ieut, und which
deaf students from all the H.aica attend loi a juU
college course free of expense for tuition or board.
The graduating class last year coutuined seven
students, two of whom are now at Galinudet col
lege. Nebraska's pi'tseut representation at Gal
laudet Includes seven students in ihe various col
lege classes. The present high class of the school
contains twelve pupils, all of who will, It Is though;,
graduate in June.
The total nur.ibtr of pupils that have been
enrolled i:i the school since Its fo;ii:diii3 lu 1SG9
I.i 8HD, (ortiif? iroiu seventy-nine ccunt!- of the
state. At this time :-fiy-thre3 coi;:;'! ;3 hjve reire
ler.taMvcs In the school, lioutiaa county has forty
one, 'Llmoln fourlte:?, .Kcai :i y, Knox and Dodgu
rath seven, Dixon six. Hall end Cus'cr each llw,
Pierce, Saline end O'oe c:i Ii f",u The state of
V'jxm'ns ii'aiit;:t!'s thiec pu,i!a la ihe school at
uu annual tost of 4,.r tut.U.
Omitting cost of buildings nAd the Interest on
the money invested, the cost per-pupil to the stata
for maintenance and instruction approximates f'JGO
per annum.
The number of pupils who have completed the
prescribed course and received a diploma of grad
uation la ninety-live. A far larger number, having
completed a partial course, have received certifi
cates o? honorable dismissal.
The schcol maintains an industrial training
school, and teaches carpentry, printing, painting,
shoemaking and farming to the boys, and dress
making and laundry work to the girls. The former
pupils of the school are generally following the
occupations thus taught at school and as a rule
The Inst Nebraska legislature, responding to
a request of parents desiring it, passed a law
making the employment of the oral method com
pulsory In the future work of the school. The
oral method alms to give speech and Hp reading
to deaf children, and where skillfully applied under
favorable conditions the method in other states lias
proven n success. At present all new pupils, or
those catering schools tills fall, ore being taught
orally. These constltuto two classes. In addition
to these, six classes formerly taught orally are con
tinued under the oral method. The seven remain
ing dosses, mude up principally of the older pupils,
heretofore taught manually, aro continued, and
will bo continued, under the manual method until
their graduation.
It will take tlmo, probably several years, ac
cording to Prof. Booth, for for the oral method to
entirely replace the manual method, by graduating
the tranuully taught and by training the new pupils
ua they enter txclunlvely by speech. The process
is thus an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary
crie, u proc ss of natural growth rather than ti'
rifi.truf tlon and attempted roccnsli uetlon.
Hluce 175i, when the Abbo d l'Kpee estab
lished t. little school In Paris for the systematic
education of the deif, supported by 1:1s own small
iucon.L-, 4,rat . bti'idcs have been made by thosvi
u,. v vv " "" r i ' i A
tul Jl :.-v if.
Kil t r-1T.mrtmrll,l... " I. Ill llll C3 WWW HI 11)11 II MBIIHiyj, " -.
interested in the work. Before the good abbo began
, his work only occasioual cases had boeu known In
which nobles or meu of groat wealth had succeeded
in finding peculiarly equipped and devoted men to
teach their dtaf children. At the same tlmo that
l'Epee took up this woik others in England, Scot
land and Germany were teaching by the oral
method, but were catering only to tho rich and
keeping their methods secret. The French priest
opened his doors to all. Thomas II. Gallaudet, sent
to Europe for training In 1816, found no welcome
where the methods were so closely guarded, but at
tho l'Epee school he was warmly welcomed and
was taught what Abbe Slcard, then in charge,
knew. So it was when Gallaudet opened the first
school in the United States, at Hartford, Conn., in
1817, hu could give instruction only in the sign
language and by the manual method. This plan
wa continued for half a century.
In the oral method all manual forms of com
munication, either gestural signs or finger alphabet,
are abolished. All Instruction or communication
is spoken, except that writing Is taught as in any
ordinary school to hearing pupils. A little book.
"Syllubiis on the Education of the Deaf," pub
lished by the otological section of the American
Medical association, asserts that in Europe at pres
ent tho oral method is almost universal, "while
the United States Is the stronghold of manuallsm."
It also gives figures showing that in 1001 Europe
had 3S0 schools out of 423 teaching the oral sys
tem, while the United States In 1910 had eighty
two and Canada two oral schools out of a total
of 1G2. Pupils taught In purely oral schools In
the United tSates In 1910 numbt-red only 2.S09 out
of a total enrollment, of U',332. This Indicated
an average of but 22 per cent orally taught In this
country, egalnst an average of 80 per cent In
Europe. Germany, Norway, Holland and Switzer
land teach the deaf by the oral method cx'iu
livcly. In addition to the 2,809 pupils mentioned
as receiving oral instruction In the United States.
4,753 others are put down as being "taught wholly
or chiefly by tho oral method." This woulj bring
the percentage of the United States up to about
60, or only twenty points behlndv'EurQ0as"
Tho grounds of the Nebraska School for tha
Deaf comprise twenty-three acres, teu of which
were given to the stato by James Bonner. Th
first building erected was tho present north wing.
In 1871. At present the plans counts seven larg
buildings, one being a handsome new auditorium,
and four smull frame buildings. There is a staff
of thirty-odd teachers, and Superintendent Booth,
considers the Nebraska institution as one of tha
best In tho laud. He is not alone in that opinion,
and lu addition it can be said that the location and
surroundings aro almost ideal. Majestic maplea
and widcsprcadlng cottonwoods surround the build
i'ngs, nnd orchard, vineyard and garden are care
fully cultivated and supply the inmates with a
wholesome variety of food for the tables.
An association of parents and guardians of fleaf,
or t'srMpilv cVef. children of Nebraska has been
formed, to be known as tho Nebraska Parents' As
to.. u. .hi -o Punuoie tl.e Orul Education of the
Deaf. The officers arc: E. J. Babcock, president.
North Loup; Major C. F. Scharmann, vice presi
dent, Omaha; Mrs. A. N. Dafoo, secretary, Tecum
seh; J. V. McLane, treasurer, superintendent Bchools
Florence; executive committee, Major C. F. Schar
mann, Superintendent J. F. McLane, John S. Reed,
Lincoln; AI N. Dafoe, Tccumseh. The organizers
feel that the parents of deaf children are the ones
most vitally interested in their education. They
wish to have them become as nearly as possible
like hearing children, taught and trained to talk
with their families and friends, und understand or
dinary conversation by reading their Hps.
The law passed by the last legislature for oral
inSi'ructlou provides that speech shall be used dur
ing the entire school life of all children hereai'ter
outerel Id the Nebraska Schfiol for (he Deaf who
ere capable cf reeelvlnjj oral Instruction, and it has
betn dosntT.stra'ed that thsro are but few that are
not ni ahlo of . beini; taught orally. In case any
are fouu who ce Ines'publs of r?-elv:ng oral in
struction they will be taught by audi other method
Coutlaued on Pago Five.)