FINAL - Global Education Project: Brazil Leigh Volpi,...

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Global Education Project: Brazil Leigh Volpi, Kelsey Dauw, Tiffany Hott SPA 211
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Introduction to Brazil As of 2009, the population of Brazil is almost 194 million, making it the most populated country in South America. Of these 194 million people, about 5.8 million have some sort of hearing disability; this means the Deaf and hard of hearing population makes up about 3% of the Brazilian population. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but Spanish, English, and French are often spoken as well. Most Brazilians only attend an average of 14 years in school. Despite the fact that Brazil makes up nearly half the continent of South America, its services for the Deaf and Deaf culture are still underdeveloped. This paper is a discussion and examination of the Deaf culture in Brazil. The specific topics included in this paper are the history of Deaf schools in Brazil, the official sign language of Brazil, Brazil’s Deaf culture today, and the key issues in Brazil that relate to other Deaf works covered in SPA 211. History of Deaf Schools in Brazil Information about the history of Deaf schools in Brazil was not as well documented over the years and thus the data is scarce compared to the information available about the history of Deaf schools in the United States. The first school for the Deaf in Brazil was founded by a Frenchman by the name of M. Hernest Huet. The school, the National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Rio de Janeiro, opened in 1855 (Regina and Souza 117). The first students at the school were seven deaf orphans. The student population at the National Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Rio de Janeiro remained small until it began accepting deaf students from other states (Regina and Souza 117). Historically, Brazil handled the education of its Deaf people similarly to the way other countries handled it, with the oral method. Following the Congress of Milan in 1880, Oralism was considered the only way to educate and communicate with Deaf people (“History
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Education”). The decision made by the oralist majority of the World Congress of Teachers in Milan shaped the way Deaf students were taught until the late nineteen hundreds (Bisol). Specifically, it was not until the 1990s that Brazil officially recognized Brazilian Sign Language, or Libras, as the natural language of the Deaf community (Ferreira). Until this time, the schools for the Deaf in Brazil taught students using the oral method. However, the Deaf students who were taught using this method spent most of their school years in primary school because they were not able to develop the essential reading and writing skills needed to progress on to higher grades (Ferreira). The Deaf students spent hours each day at school trying to learn to speak and read lips instead of learning the fundamentals of language through sign language. After the Brazilian government officially recognized sign language as the natural
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course SPN 211 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Miami University.

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FINAL - Global Education Project: Brazil Leigh Volpi,...

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