"Terakoya" as place for basic education for Deaf children in 1850's (Edo period)

"Terakoya", a private school

There was a private basic school, called "Terakoya", during the Edo period, generally run by one teacher who was a monk or once a samurai before.

Among 3,090 'Terakoya' schools, 266 schools (8.6 percent) accepted the children with physical disabilities according the study by Ototake Iwazo (1929). The largest number of pupils were the Deaf-mute.

Because those who did not have the ability to perform physical labor were considered useless, the parents of children with disabilities sent their children to these private schools hoping for their children’s future independence. 

These students were educated in inclusive classrooms, and the teachers devised and modified the traditional instruction and materials according to their needs. For the Deaf children, the teacher collected daily necessaries, toys, picture books, etc., and taught them Chinese characters by connecting with a thing or a picture. 

Some of them became skilled in writing Chinese characters gradually. Moreover, the skilled Deaf pupil was able to communicate with a hearing person in writing about what he wanted to say.

It is unknown about how many Deaf children were educated exactly at Terakoya. However, each such goodwill promoted the education of Deaf children in Japan.

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