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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/376

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364
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Upon the question how far school instruction can be imparted through these means without the aid of signs and finger-spelling opinions differ. In justice to many it must be remembered that they receive all classes of pupils; often they are bright and in good physical condition, but some are diseased, of ignorant parentage, and small ability. It may be the latter class remain in school but a short time. While there, thanks to the State's generosity, they need not be of any expense to their relatives; it often happens, however, that they can not be spared long from home duties. The principal must arrange to give them all the knowledge he can while they remain with him. No plan covering years will answer for them. Neither will a plan suitable for them be sufficient for those better situated and conditioned. Perhaps the teacher is himself deaf, the graduate of some State institution, a member of one or more organizations of deaf-mutes, associating daily with sign-taught adults. Without casting any disparagement upon his abilities, we beg leave to say he is not as competent to decide the matter as a hearing person would be; he receives opinions from both sides, but he can not judge impartially. The greater his faith in the character of those who advocate articulation, the greater his faith in that system, but being sign-taught himself, he would like to feel his education was superior. Some principals have an oral department, by which is meant that a certain number of pupils are taught speech, and by speech receive instruction in all studies. As much as possible they are kept apart from the other pupils. This is a decided improvement upon the first arrangement, though it is a matter for regret that some should have such an advantage over others. A few superintendents feel this, and are arranging to have all new pupils taught speech, and as the older ones are graduated the manual department becomes small. Other institutions advocate a combined method, using both speech and signs with all pupils, one or the other system receiving the greater attention according to the views of the principal in charge. Schools have been opened which give instruction to all pupils by speech only, and are called oral schools, and a number of teachers are scattered over the country who fill the positions of resident or visiting governesses. Thus there is a disposition to advance the cause of the education of the deaf, and a wide difference in opinion as to what is best.

The true test is in results. That system is excellent which enables the deaf pupil to take his rightful place in the world, attain business and social success, to be like unto others. Correct, fluent speech, with voice more or less agreeable, and the ability to understand others by watching the facial movements (whch is called lip-reading or speech-reading), may be acquired by the boy or girl suddenly deprived of hearing by illness or born deaf. To