We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Rising of Lotus Flowers

Self-Education by Deaf Children in Thai Boarding Schools

Charles B. Reilly and Nipapon Reilly

Publication Year: 2005

In developed nations around the world, residential schools for deaf students are giving way to the trend of inclusion in regular classrooms. Nonetheless, deaf education continues to lag as the students struggle to communicate. In the Bua School in Thailand, however, 400 residential deaf students ranging in age from 6 to 19 have met with great success in teaching each other Thai Sign Language (TSL) and a world of knowledge once thought to be lost to them. The Rising of Lotus Flowers: Self-Education by Deaf Children in Thai Boarding Schools reveals how their institutionalization allowed them to foster a unique incubator of communication and education. Charles B. Reilly, a teacher and community organizer in Thailand for eight years, and Nipapon Reilly, a Deaf Thai citizen, studied the students in the Bua School for 14 years, with periodic follow-ups thereafter. They found that the students learned little from their formal instructors, but that they were able to educate each other in time spent away from the classroom. Older students who had learned TSL in the dorms and on the playground successfully passed it on to six-year-olds who had virtually no language at all. The Reillys’ study uncovers an elaborate hierarchy of education among these students, with each group using games and other activities to teach and bring other classmates up to their level. Named for the much admired aquatic plant that blooms in Thailand’s bogs, the Bua School epitomizes the ideal of The Rising of Lotus Flowers, which also offers analytical evidence of the continuing value of residential schools in deaf education.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (23.0 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (26.0 KB)
pp. v

Editorial Advisory Board

pdf iconDownload PDF (18.9 KB)
pp. vii

read more

Editor’s Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (28.0 KB)
pp. ix

It is a distinct privilege to have The Rising of Lotus Flowers: Self- Education by Deaf Children in Thai Boarding Schools as Volume 11 in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series. It is a book that gets at the heart of sociolinguistics in deaf communities in its account of the essential role of language in education. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (59.9 KB)
pp. xi-xviii

In May 2004, the Southeast Asian nations endorsed a framework for improving the quality of education through “child-friendly learning environments.” The “Bangkok Declaration” declared, “We, Ministers and High Officials of Education from the 10 countries of Southeast Asia recognize . . . our concern for fulfilling ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.9 KB)
pp. xix-xxii

As a deaf girl in rural Thailand, Nipapon attended a residential school where she lived the kind of childhood that we are highlighting in this book. Nipapon’s stories of her personal experiences in school led Charles to the idea of conducting his doctoral dissertation study from 1991–92 on the nature of informal learning ...

read more

Chapter 1 Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (5.6 MB)
pp. 1-71

While out walking, we may take notice of a tiny plant that has pushed its way up through a crack in a concrete slab, and we may admire its tenacity. In Southeast Asia, people similarly appreciate the efforts of the lotus flower to rise above its conditions. Rooted in the muck at the bottom of a pond, a lotus plant ...

read more

Chapter 2 Education and Deaf People in Thailand

pdf iconDownload PDF (1021.4 KB)
pp. 72-90

Thailand, with 66 million people, is a nation of sharp contrasts between past traditions and rapid modernization. Situated in Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Thailand covers an area of 513,000 square kilometers—nearly the size of France. The past has presented an unbroken state of independence for 700 years in spite ...

read more

Chapter 3 The Bua School for the Deaf

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 91-108

Located a day’s drive from the capital city of Bangkok, The Bua School for the Deaf was founded in 1969 as only the fourth school for deaf children in the country. Except for a smaller school in Kulaab (established in 1977), Bua School has been the only institution for deaf children that serves an area with more ...

read more

Chapter 4 Association among the Students

pdf iconDownload PDF (4.8 MB)
pp. 109-138

During the twenty-year history of the school, the children have developed an array of educational activities by themselves. Their use of creative narrative and participatory groups reveals their ability to devise social gatherings to fulfill their intellectual, social, and emotional needs. Their adoption and ...

read more

Chapter 5 Free-Time Activities

pdf iconDownload PDF (7.1 MB)
pp. 139-169

The nature of interaction among the students can be described in terms of interaction that occurs during free-time activities and in terms of the patterns of authority that students demonstrate. This chapter will focus on interactions during free-time activities, and chapter 6 will focus on students’ patterns of authority. ...

read more

Chapter 6 Students in Charge

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 170-185

Peer education seems most prominent at all cultural levels as a way to promote conformity to cultural standards. In preliterate and peasant societies, the peer group is a major force against delinquency. In contemporary society, the peer group seems split on this issue; it is a major support of rebellion against parents ...

read more

Chapter 7 Summary and Recommendations

pdf iconDownload PDF (178.3 KB)
pp. 186-225

Residential institutions for deaf children have been discredited in many nations because they are perceived as isolating children inside a “deaf world.” The belief is that, in such a setting, the children will not gain knowledge of the spoken and written language, the norms of society, and the experiences needed ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (36.9 KB)
pp. 226-230

The reader from Thailand may fairly ask how well this case study from the 1990s reflects the current national situation. Some statements may no longer be true, and some numbers may have fallen out of date. Our goal is to shine light on a very special aspect of Thailand: the ways that deaf children help one another learn ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (74.2 KB)
pp. 231-240


pdf iconDownload PDF (108.7 KB)
pp. 241-255

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683268
E-ISBN-10: 1563683261
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563682759
Print-ISBN-10: 1563682753

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 9 tables, 7 figures, 20 photos
Publication Year: 2005