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Oralism, Philosophy and Models of

  • By: Jessica Murgel
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Oralism refers to the educational philosophy for the deaf that insisted on the use of the oral method. The oral method, in its purest form, rejected any use of gestures, fingerspelling, or sign language in favor of teaching deaf students speech and lipreading. The intention then was to prevent any manual communication either between teachers and students, and perhaps more importantly between students themselves. In effect, deaf teachers were largely replaced by hearing ones under the guise of oralism since deaf teachers were deemed ineffectual at teaching proper articulation, and the number of deaf teachers dwindled significantly during the period of oralism. The staunchest advocates of the oral method believed that the practice of using speech and lipreading ought to be pursued by deaf students ...

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