Instructional Strategies

Deaf Culture

Larry Stewart: Reverse Mainstreaming Trend

Larry Stewart was the superintendent of Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) for two years before this interview and has since accepted a position at Gallaudet University. During his time at ISD he found himself in a battle for the schools survival and, although ISD's survival was critical, he felt the fight was for more than one residential school. He wants to reverse the trend toward putting deaf children in "regular" public school classrooms. This trend began in the mid-'70s after the passage of PL 94-142. Some of Mr. Stewart's arguments,that he gave in an interview with World Around You editor Cathryn Carroll for reversing the mainstreaming trend follow:

Carroll, Cathryn (1989). Larry Stewart: Reverse Mainstreaming Trend.The Deaf American, 39(3), 11-12.

Insight:

There are many things to consider about what Larry Stewart has to say, especially in the area of Deaf culture. It is not something to be addressed in one hour long lesson. It is our students lives every single day. Not only our instruction but our actions should make our students feel proud of who they are and what they can achieve- ANYTHING! I think cultural knowledge and pride is learned much more naturally in the residential setting. That just means that those of us who teach the deaf in "regular" schools have our work cut out for us. Our students need deaf adult role models, time to interact socially with their peers and involvement in any and all community events. Children start forming their self concept at an early age and a very few deaf children go to a residential school until they are older. I have developed a theme unit on deaf culture that I will use in my classroom year around. Please take a look and use any and all ideas you find useful!

CLICK HERE TO SEE A THEME UNIT ON DEAF CULTURE