Residential or Mainstream? 

History of Deaf Education - 

Early Attempts

Home   History of Deaf Ed   Current Deaf Ed   Gallaudet   Deaf vs Hearing Schools   My Experiences   Teaching Tips   Site Map

Historical View

Early Attempts

Early American Deaf Education

In Europe

Back in America

American Deaf Education

A College

The Oral versus Manual Debate  


Early Attempts

Despite beliefs at the time, some people did think that the deaf could be educated.  One individual was a Spanish monk, Fray Melchor de Yebra, who lived in the 1500’s.  He used hand signs that corresponded to letters of the Spanish alphabet, often used by Catholic monks who had taken a vow of silence, to teach some deaf people their language. 

Another man, Juan Pablo Bonet, also used the fingerspelling method to educate deaf individuals.  In 1620, he published the alphabet in a book entitled Simplification of the Letters of the Alphabet and Method of Teaching Deaf-Mutes to Speak, the first book published about deaf education.  Bonet supported the use of fingerspelling with deaf individuals so that family and friends could communicate with them.  However, his philosophy was overall more of an “oral” approach to deaf education – he believed deaf individuals should be taught to speak.  Hearing people could fingerspell to the deaf person, but the deaf individual should respond vocally. 

<< Historical View           Early American Deaf Education >>