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Reviews pretation and different in different judicial districts . In summary, this booklet is a useful, cursory overview of procedural steps in a 94-142 hearing . It should not be relied on as a handbook for conducting a hearing, or for an analysis of substantive issues or technical legal procedures. Sarah S. Geer, f.D. National Association of the Deaf Legal Defense Fund Washington, DC 20002 Le Langage des Sourds, Christian Cuxac, 206 pp., 74 Francs paperback, Payot Press, 106 Boulevard SaintGermain , Paris, France, 1983. This book traces the history of deaf education in France, from Γ abbe de l'Epee to the present, with particular reference to the pedagogical role of sign language. The year 1880 marked a crucial turning point in the education of deaf children in France. Although the oral-manual controversy began during l'Epee's lifetime, until the Congress of Milan, which was held that year, most instruction had been in sign language. Congress delegates, who had been selected to exclude deaf teachers, almost unanimously voted to support a motion declaring pure oralism superior to other methods of instruction. In spite of Edward Minor Gallaudet's strong objections, the oralists won a decisive battle with this decision. Pure oralism being incompatible with other approaches , the so-called French Method of instruction in sign language was abandoned in all schools in France. Concurrently, to avoid contaminating the students with sign language, all deaf teachers were dismissed from their positions . French Sign Language (FSL) began an underground and quasi-illegal existence. For the next century, although officially absent from the schools, FSL continued to be transmitted from generation to generation of deaf school children attending residential schools. FSL has remained the primary language of the deaf community in France and in parts of Belgium and Switzerland. In the last few years, inspired and encouraged by the social and political advances made by deaf people in the United States, young deaf adults, parents of deaf children , and professionals in these countries have formed a grassroots advocacy movement. Among their objectives, they have given high priority to the rehabilitation of FSL and its réintroduction into the classroom along with deaf teachers. Christian Cuxac's book is one of several recent French publications that argue for the right of deaf children to a bilingual education. Using historical evidence, he attempts to demonstrate that bilingual instruction in FSL and in the French language is not only vastly superior to pure oralism , but also better than other methods widely used in France before 1880, such as l'Epee's Methodical Signs, the Combined Method, and instruction in Signed French. In the middle of the 19th Century, deaf people in France experienced their Golden Age when an impressive number of deaf writers, poets, artists, teachers, civil servants , and school administrators flourished. Cuxac's argument hinges on their success, which he attributes to a bilingual education in FSL and French. At the Congress of Milan, the rationale proposed to justify the switch to pure oralism was based on pedagogical considerations ; Cuxac evokes political and economic issues . At that time, minority languages in France were considered to be an obstacle to national unification. Consequently, due to its minority language status, FSL was slated to disappear like the others. In addition, an anomaly resulted from the fact that instruction in sign language had made possible the education of large numbers of poor children, a tradition started by l'Epee . By contrast, only the rich could afford a pure oral approach, which required a low student -teacher ratio. Because education was the prerogative of the privileged classes, allowing deaf children from very modest families access to an education was socially unacceptable. Sign language has become a highly controversial topic among French educators, administrators , and parents of deaf children. Cuxac's book should be viewed in this context as a forceful political statement. Even if you agree with his thesis, his claims of bilingual education are not totally convincing because of the paucity of historical evidence. Despite this reservation, this interesting book provides a long-range perspective on the education of deaf children with valuable insights not readily found in current publications in English. Harry Markowicz Department of English...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0375
Print ISSN
0002-726X
Pages
p. 445
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-22
Open Access
No
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