Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, November 12, 1911, EDITORIAL, Image 15

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    The Omaha Sunday Bee
VOL. XLI. NO. 21.
OMAHA, SUNDAY MOli.NIXd, NOYEM W,i 12, 11)11.
How a Deaf Child is Taught to Talk Like Other Folks
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kEAKlNCr with the cjea is a rather new
art, but it la being taught with more
or lees euccetm la 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 I'rof. 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 vit-lt he made to the Omaha school In that year,
Mr. Bell said:
"The Nebraska Institution is celebrated tho
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 revolutionising 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 pe cent of our deaf mutes could be taught
to hear anil speak; and when you consider that
the census of 1880 reports about 3 4,000 deaf
mutes in this country, jou see how important this
matter is.
"The method pursued by this school is to
form those pupils who can hear any loud noise,
such as u dinner hell, into classes, and teach them
to, articulate, thus transforming them from deaf
mutes into ordinary deaf people. While J was in
Kuiopa I was queutloned 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; eo 1 resolved to
avail myself of the first opportunity and investigate
the matter fully. The Institution has galucd a
reputntioo in his thing which is world wide and has
done more to change the general Idea regarding
this subject than anyone every dreamed of."
Jxnce Mr. Bell gave that iate-.-view to The
Bee .after visiting tho Nebraska school, the insti
tution has kept in the front rank among schoolu
for the education of the deaf. To convey aa under
standing of the new and beKer method as it hao
bi'eu developed et the present time. It will bo per
tinent to quot Airs. Arline I). N. Moes of St. I.ouU,
noted and successful teacher.
"Wo begin at tho beginulnp," says Mrs. Moss.
"Wtcn a dei'-f person wishc3 to master lip reading
tc Liiist le?ru perfectly jut' what stapes tho lips
take ii: making all the soimds. The vowol3 are
t;.ken or.a by uun and the pupil 1 drillwl la
tounds over and over for ho ins at a t!:ne. Then
the consonants a;e taken. , It r-eems almost houe
'ikr to tJ'em ct f rM, but in time they begin to cila
tii gu them. Ac roon ia the vowel and :on-
: Mni! r.ra master. 1 then wa begin to
tui-i vjrii. Ii' is liko learning to reJ bud to
gpealc all over again. It Is practice that does It.
I talk some days till I am almost hoarse in an effort
to let tho pupil seo Just how the letters should be
"Then I sometimes havo him practice beforo
a mirror. In that way ho can watch his own Hps
move as he pronounces certain letters or combina
tions of letters."
The method hero 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 muBt have illimitable patience. Re
ward conies 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, onco 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 tho vocal chords in
a surprising way.
The present number of pupils in tho Nebraska
school is 1C.1, distributed among fifteen classes,
giving an average of eleven pupils to ea h teacher.
"It will be understood." Fays Superintendent Booth,
"that instruction Is largely individual; therefore
the number of pupils under one teacher must bo
smaller than in the of hearing children. Es
pecially is this true with oral clc.sses where speech
Is taught and lip reading Is the medium of Instruc
tion. The best authorities agree that xal classes,
for best results, should not contain more than from
six to elqit children."
The pupils inngo In age from 6 to 21, and the
classes In their work cover ten grades, carrying
the in through arithmetic, algebra, English gram
mar, American and English history, nnd giving a
year of Latin, preparing them for Gallaudet College
for the Deaf, an Institution maintained at Wash
ington by the I'nited Btatc-s government, and which
deaf students from all thu'j aueiui lot a iuU
college touree free of expenso for tuition or board.
The graduating class last year contained seven
students, two of whom ale now at (iallnudct col
lege. Nebraska's pusent representation nt Gal
laudet Includes beven students iii the various col
lege classes. The present high claKU of the school
contains twelve pupils, all of who will. It U though;,
graduate In June.
The to'al numbtr of pupils that have bten
enrolled i:i the tehool t-iiice its founding lu 1SC9
i.i forcirg Jioiii t-:ev nt-:ilne (cuntlfs of the
Hate. At t'.in time Miy-thi'e cm;;:'! m have repre
ler.ta'ives In the mIiioI. IiouuIuh eoiiiuy has forty
one, 'I. ini oln foi.i-ti eu, . K a! :i y, Knox and lodgu
each fceven. Itlxon riv, Hull ri'd ('LSr each live,
I'ierre, Saline and O'oe rali four. The Mute of
V'ycrn'nr; ira'ntlrs thie pu.iils la iho school at
an annual cost of $:;o'j r put;l.
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Omitting cost of buildings nd the Interest on
the money invested, the cost per-upil to the stata
for maintenance and instruction approximates $250
per annum.
Tho number of pupils who have completed the
prescribed course and received a diploma of grad
uation in ninety-five. A far larger number, having
completed a partial course, have received certifi
cates of 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 tho school nre generally following tho
occupations thus taught at school and as a rule
Tho last Nebraska legislature, responding to
a request of parents desiring it, passed a law
making tho employment of the oral method com
pulsory lu the future work of the school. Tho
oral method alms to give speech and lip reading
to deaf children, and where skillfully applied undr
favorable conditions the method in other stales has
proven a success. At present all new pupils, or
those entering schools this fall, are being taught
orally. These constitute two classes. In addition
to these, six classes formerly taught orally are con
tinued under tho oral method. The seven remain
ing daises, made up principally of the older pupils,
heretofore taught manually, aro continued, and
will bu continued, under thu manual method until
their graduation.
It will tako time, probably several years, ac
cording to I'rof. Booth, for for the oral method to
entirely replace the manual method, by graduating
the manually taught and by training the new pupils
vla they enter exclusively by t-peerh. The proeesa
Is thus an evolutionary ratlur than a revolutionary
er e, u pron t-s of natural growth rather than cl'
dei.tru'tlon and attempted rncMiati uetlon.
hince 175u, when the Abbo d l'Epee estab
lished u llttlo fihoo) In I'arls for the systematic
e2u anon of the Ueif, supported by I. Is own small
iucoiui-, fcrjt , btiides have been made by thoig
Interested In the work. Before the good abbo began
t his work only occasional cases hud boeu known In
which nobles or men of great wealth had succeeded
in finding peculiarly equipped and devoted men to
teach their dtaf children. At tho same timo that
l'Epee took up this woik others in Eugland, Scot
laud 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 11. Gallaudet, sent
to Europo for training la 1816, found no welcome
where the methods were so closely guarded, but at
the l'Epee school he was warmly welcomed and
was taught what Abbe Slcard, then In charge,
knew, tio It was when Gallaudet opened tho first
school lu the United States, at Hartford, Conn., in
1817, hu could give instruction only In the sign
language and by tho manual method. This plan
wu. continued for half a century.
In the oral method all manual forms of com
munication, either gestural signs or linger 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.
"Syllabus on the Education of the Deaf," pub
lished by the otologics! suction 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 3E0 schools out of 423 teaching the oral sys
tem, while the I'nited titatcs in 1010 had eighty
two and Canada two oral schools out of a total
of 1C2. 1'upils taught In purely oral schools in
ti e United tSates In 1010 numbered only 2.809 out
of a total enrollment-of 12,3:12. This Indicated
nu overage of but 22 per cent orally taught In thU
country, egalnat an average of 80 per cent in
Europe. Germany, Norwuy, Holland and Switzer
land teach the deaf by the oral method exclu
tivcly. In addition to tho 2,809 pupiU mentioned
as receiving oral instruction In the United S'ates.
4.753 others are put dow'ii as being "taught wholly
or chiefly by Iho oral method." This would bring
tho percentage of the United States up to about
CO, or only twenty polnti behInd'"Euro,t$,,Mr
Tho grounds of the Nebraska School for th
Deaf comprise twenty-three acres, ten of which
were given to the state by James Bonner. Tb
first building erected was tho present north wing.
In 1871. At present the plans counts Beven larg
buildings, one being a handsome new auditorium,
and four small Iramo buildings. There is a staff
of thirty-odd teachers, and Superintendent Booth
considers the Nebraska Institution as one of tho
best in tho lund. He Is not alone in that opinion,
and in addition It can be said that the location and
surroundings aro almost ideal. Majestic maplea
and widcspreaJing cottouwoods surround the build
ings, and orchard, vineyard and garden are care
fully cultivated and supply the inmates with a
whclesome variety of food for the tables.
An association cf parents and guardians of deaf,
or iprMn'iv r'rnf. children of Xebrrska has been
formed, to be known as tho Nebraska Parents' As
u,. n .in .o I'loiiioie ti.e Orul Education of thai
Deaf. The officers are: E. J. Babcock, president.
North Loup; Mujor C. V. Scharraann, vice presi
dent, Omaha; Mis. A. N. Dafoo. secretary, Tecum
sch; J. K. McLane, treasurer, superintendent schools
Ficrtnee; executive committee, Mujor C. F. Schar
lnana, Superintendent J. F. McLane, John S. Reed,
Lincoln; Al N. Dafoe, Tocumseh. The organiiers
feci that the parents of deaf children are the ones
moat 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 frleuds, and understand or
dinary convet sntlcn by reading their lips.
Tho law pasnod by the lust legislature for oral
Ids; rut Won provides that speech uhall be usol dur
ing the entire school life of all children hereafter
enterel In the Nebraska School for the Deaf who
nre capable cf receiving oral Instruction, end It has
been domcr.btra'ed that t litre are but few that are
not eai ablo of beii'i: tnuht orally. In case any
are foun' who r'o Ineapubls of r?"tiv!ng oral In
struction they will be tiught by such other method
tCoutiauod on" Pago Five.)