Thursday, April 11, 2013

Accion Mutante

Nicked from here. Note to SIS; this is, like, a simile. Peace out, dudes.

According to the Flynn Effect, today's dumbest NCEA drop-out is still smarter than the guy who set Deaf Education policy in New Zealand for nearly a century.

Gerrit van Asch was appointed the first principal of New Zealand's first Deaf school, now known as Sumner School for the Deaf, back in 1880. His vociferous belief in the oral system being superior to the sign system impressed men like Vogel, who ignored people such as the eminently qualified sign teacher Miss Mitchell, who also applied for the principal's job.

A student of van Asch once complained to him that he couldn't lip-read him because of his thick beard.  That pupil was caned.

This orthodoxy bordering on dogma wasn't challenged until Sefton Bartlett's posting as principal to Kelston Deaf School in 1974. Along with many Deaf activists, it was Bartlett who helped persuade the Department of Education that lipreading is not the be all and end all of Deaf Education, and the policy of Total Communication was established (Whatever Works, in laypersons' speak).

There's still along way to go for Deaf Education in these small narrow islands, as Emma Hart's latest post demonstrates. I reckon the disabled should form a union and take on these Norms.

Accion Mutante!