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7:1 Friday, January 14, 2005

The New Zeitgeist

Observations on the Education of
Deaf Students in the 21st Century

In 2000, the International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) held its 19th conference in Sydney, Australia. More than 1,000 teachers, administrators, and researchers from 46 countries addressed an extremely wide selection of topics ranging from the inclusion of deaf students in regular educational environments to deaf students in post-secondary school education. Educating Deaf Students: Global Perspectives edited by Des Power and Greg Leigh brings together a select cross-section of the issues addressed at the 19th ICED.

As noted by Power and Leigh, “[T]here is much about which we should, as a field of education, be optimistic. It is true, however, that we are still well short of achieving all of our goals for the education of deaf students. There are numerous areas where our knowledge and practice remain significantly limited. Nevertheless, it would appear that, as a consequence of research and practical endeavor, the field of education of deaf children is in a better position to make more sustained progress in many of these areas than at any point in its long history.”

Read more about the past, present, and future of deaf education in “Reviewing the Past, Assessing the Present, and Projecting the Future,” and secure a copy of Educating Deaf Students with your exclusive subscriber 20% discount.

“For a book that arose from a conference and was presumably not carefully structured in advance, Genetics, Disability, and Deafness does seem -- even with the history before the science -- remarkably well-put-together, in large part due to the well-matched opening and closing pairs. The pieces in between, though not as even as a single writer would have made them nor as systematic as an attempt to cover the issue comprehensively might have made them, are not as jarring a collection as sometimes results from a conference, and especially a multidisciplinary conference. It’s actually a pretty good read, which is not something you can always say about academic books.” This was the sentiment of a recent review in Ragged Edge Magazine of Genetics, Disability, and Deafness, a volume of essays on science, the humanities, and history which shows the many ways that disability, deafness, and the new genetics interact and its meaning for society. Read more about this intriguing topic in the first paper, “The Science of Human Nature and the Human Nature of Science,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Menand, and order Genetics, Disability, and Deafness.

The Midwest Book Review extolls R. H. Miller’s Deaf Hearing Boy: A Memoir, calling it “A compelling testimony drawn directly from heart and memory.” In its entirety it reads, “The second volume of the Deaf Lives series, Deaf Hearing Boy: A Memoir is the true story of the author, born in 1938 as the oldest of four hearing boys to deaf parents. Deaf Hearing Boy chronicles growing up in changing times, and the author’s own experience as the sometimes unwilling liaison between his deaf parents and hearing grandparents. The end of World War II brought poverty to the family, as returning soldiers displaced his parents’ jobs and they had to resort to scraping by on the family farm. Deaf Hearing Boy chronicles an era when small farms gradually faded from the landscape, and cultural connectivity began to erode the isolation of deaf people. It tells of prejudice against the deaf, from fathers who would not let the author date their daughters for fear that the author carried a gene for deafness that would be passed on, to misunderstandings within the family and more. And it tells of a young man’s abiding respect for his parents, despite the problems unique to a deaf couple striving to raise hearing children. A compelling testimony drawn directly from heart and memory.” Read part of Miller’s compelling account as the oldest of four hearing boys born to deaf parents in chapter seven, “A New Life”, and order Deaf Hearing Boy.


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