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14 June 2007

A good history lesson

So today was really neat....ya, neat.

We walked what seemed to be at least 45 miles...no I'm kidding....to one of the most important deaf schools in the history of Italy, and some say of Europe. The school is called the Pendula school, named after its founder from back in the day. I won't give you any boring history lessons, but if you ever get interested, google. It is really neat. We were given a tour by a man named Georgio who went to the school when he was a boy. The school was a place that basically forced deaf children to learn how to speak and write. A lot of people from that time believed that since they were deaf, they could only serve on purpose and that was to use their motor skills and become tailors, typographers, and various other things that could be done without using there lack of hearing. These things were taught throughout the deaf school and there were tons of photos of the children learning these skills. It was very interested the relation it had with the history of American deaf culture. Alot of the old machinery was still in the school and is used as a museum. In some of the pictures you can see some of the things that were made by the students. The tiny bed and chair and the clock are just some of the skills that were taught.

We then went into the main room that the students were 'taught' in. This room was used to teach those who had some hearing to speak. If you can tell from the photo's there are mics on all of the desks. The students had headphones put on and the frequencies were controlled by a mixer, which you can also see in the photo's. The frequency was adjusted until the students could hear the sound at a comfortable pitch and those who could not hear anything just had to try harder or where taught by other means such as being put infront of a mirror to demonstrate the shapes of the lips and to feel the movement of the vocal cords. Alot of these methods were forced on these students to try and 'better' there existance. Signing was completely banned from the school and students who were caught signing were punished. They would have their hands slapped with rulers and switches for trying to communicate with their friends. Right after school was over, the students were begin to sign as if they hadn't talked for weeks!

Georgio gave an amazing tour and told us a lot of stories from when he was a student. Stories from when he used to draw under his desk instead of listen to the teacher to how he met his 'little wife' at the school.

Overall, an amazing lesson and I have some of it on video so if you ever want to check it out and see some LIS, let me know!! Ciao for now and I'm goin to bed!!

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