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THE EDUCATION OF DEAF-MUTES. The misfortune of those whom Nature has deprfved of the means of communication with their fellow-creatures must always command sympathy and the efforts of those who pbilantbropicaily endeavour to restore the missing faculty are worthy of commendation and encouragement. The follow- Ing Instructive article, which appeared In the Daily News of May 29, will be read with Interest, as showing the method by which it Is sought to extend the advantages of education to the deaf and dumb On the topmost floor of the Board Bchool in Win- chester-street, Pentonville, is a room set apart for the teaching of deaf-mutes. The method pursued may be called "dual, "as Mr. William Stainer, Instructor of the Deaf and Dumb to the School Board for London, as elected to apply each of the rival systems of putting deaf-mutes into communication with their fellow- creatures to the children entrusted to his care. To give the French or "sign" system, and the German or oral system, an opportunity of adaptation to peculiar wants, eaoh of the two ladies to whom, direction of Mr. Stainer, the care of the children is confided teaches under an opposite system, confusion, however, is created by this apparent eonBict of authority. The instruction of the smaller children is conducted on the lip or German system by Miss Ensor that of the better grown students on the sign system, by Mrs. Ockleston-the latter lady a deaf-mute, acquainted with both methods of communication, able to *peak a little, but §rei.i*rl?g two-handed sign system of the Abb4 1 i talking to another deaf-mute, and the *i u u visitor be not acquainted with the dumb alphabet. To give the German system, which brings those who are able to Acquire it into immediate communication with their country. men, every chance, Mr. Stainer first hands over the younger children to Miss Ensor for instruction in lip-teaching. A very interesting and instructive L.°r*v[0 Passed in watching these ladies at work with their pupils, numbering some two soore, some of whom come from long distances, and are fed and otherwise cared for at the Home in Pentonville- | road. The children are from five to fourteen years of age, a few amalt boys being scattered among the large majority of girls. Calling up the little children-those from five to eight years of age-Miss Ensor ranges them in front of that inevitable black board without which education would come to a standstill. The very juveniles, however, are taught little beyond the method of producing Bounds. It has already been explained in an article on this subject in the Daily News that the unfortunate persons vulgarly called deaf and dumb" are only incapable of uttering intel. ligible sounds because they are stone-deaf. Hence a faculty, unsuspected by the deaf-mute, must be developed. The teacher has first to convey to her pupil what a sound is, and effects this by stamping on the ground and producing a vibration which is felt, although the Bound produced by it is unheard. aaisB Ensor next produces the vowels, showing the child how she produces them, and putting its hand on her throat that the vibration may be felt. She next proceeds to the consonants, pronouncing the b" and "t" sounds like those of the "m and "n," without the addition of a vowel i The impulse merely is taught. Thus b," instead of being pro- nounced "bee," is "buh," "t" is "tuh," "f" is not" eft" but "fuh"—the child being taught exactly how to bring the lips smartly apart in the first, to force the tongue forward for the second, and to press the lips against the teeth fer the third. By degrees he learns to make these sounds, and to recognise them when made by others, provided, of course, that he can see the mouth of the speaker, and that the latter measures her utterance and moves her lips in a marked manner. Frem sounds a step is at once made to short words, and this is much facilitated by the picture-teach- ing" books. The child who has been taught the b" sound the "a" Bound, and the "t" sound, find* but little difficulty in saying bat" when shown the painted image and the written name of that instru- ment of propulsion. Some of the children, notably one smart little fellow deaf as a post," pronounced the short words set before them on the occasion of our visit with almost startling distinctness, and a little sunny-haired Beatrice of twelve Bummers recited the Lord's Prayer very clearly and forcibly. Short words having been practised for some considerable time, the teaching of the letters as letters and not as mere sounds is carried on, accompanied by their delineation en the slate. It has been proved over and over again that in time the dumb may often be taught literally to speak in this way and thus be brought into com- munication with the better endowed of their kind. More rapid by far is the sign system as taught in many institutions In Europe and America, and it is a pleasant sight to see Mrs. OckleBton teaching her olasa by the sign alphabet. The first difficulty, that of bringing the mind of the pupil into communioatipn with that of the teacher, is got over, all in the German system, by picture-teaching," and the pupil its taught to write at onoe. The teacher points to a figure of a hat in a picture-book, writes "hat" distinctly r on a blackboard, and then, claiming her pupils' attention, draws the palm of her hand smartly over the other, touches the thumb of the 1> ft hand mth the index finger of th§ right, and applies 6ha same finger to the lower edge of the left hand. This is repeated till the children have mastered it, and thus become acquainted with the connection between the natural object, the written and the manuel signs. Pictures are again employed to teach the verbs, adjectives, and minor parts of speech, and coloured engravings are given to the children for ex- planation. Short questions are asked on the black- board and the pupils reply accurately enough, spelling out their words carefully and slowly. It often happens that they understand the question, but cannot find the word to express their meaning, as in the case of one poor little fellow who, when asked how flour is made, seemed puzzled as to the respective meanings of "miller and "ground," At this stage of teacning it is found necessary to repress with some firmness the use of the arbitrary signs which come like second nature to the poor little deaf-mutes. It is, of course, easier to indicate a cup by the action of drinking or a taU hat by a motion of the finger than to spell it; but, as this kind of converse advances the pupils not a whit, they are rigidly for- bidden to use it in school hours. Among themselves they use "arbitraries" very largely, as a point upwards to signify God," and a slap on the thigh to signify a dog." It would seem indeed as if the little deaf-mutes made a sign-language of their own, and lived a kind of shorthand existence. This is unfortunately inevitable, as is the length of time required to develope the intelli- gence of a deaf-mute. The acquisition of language, the proper use and arrangement of the parts of speech occupies so much time that several years must elapse before the pupils can attain to the studies usually pursued in schools, as it is found impossible to teach them history, or any similar subject, until they thoroughly comprehend the use of language. Like the form of language the abstract idea of number is found difficult to convey. It is, however, got over in the old-fashioned way, by the use oi vari- ously coloured spheres, in order that the conception of number may be dissociated from those of size and colour. Some of the elder children at the Win- chester-street School have advanced as far as multiplication by three places of figures, and thus give hope that the science of arithmetic, for which their infirmity fits them, may in time become a speciality of deaf-mutes. On the other hand, recent experiments with maps have shown that the idea of locality is almost as strong with them as with the blind. At first the astonishment of the I pupils had no bounds when they found that the world extended far beyond London, and one bright eyed child hunted perseveringly over Mercator's projection in the hope of finding her mother's house at Shepherd's bush. Familiarity with maps has somewhat expanded this purely metropolitan idea of epace, and the little child who 'three months ago thought to find her home in the centre of the world, where mediaeval cartographers placed Jeru- salem, can now find the principal towns on the map ef England on the instant. So far as the experiment of "dual" teaching has gone, it has been generally successful, and it is understood that Mr. Stainer has recommended its adoption at the west and south centres of the London School Board, in addition to those at Winchester street and Wilmott street, Bethnal-green.





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