Teaching method at first school for the Deaf in 1878

Numeral signs

Japanese fingerspelling chart
Furukawa Tashiro was a hearing teacher and the founder of the Kyoto Institution for the Blind and Deaf (1878), the first school for the deaf in Japan, which would be the Kyoto Prefectural Institution for the Blind and Deaf later, and again the Kyoto Municipal Institution for the Blind and Deaf.

Furukawa did various works about instruction to the blind and deaf students, respectively. His attitude towards to the students was sincere, full of love; he accepted them as what they were from the bottom of heart without self-interest.

The subjects taught for the deaf students were "pronunciation (speech)", "dictation", the "discourse method", the "composition method", "composition with theme", "geography", and "arithmetic".

Furukawa's instruction was combined with the following methods. To teach how to pronounce a syllabary, he made the "pronunciation chart" (発音起源図 1878) along with the word list for the "speech". Also he used the question-answer method for the semantical grasp of the word, carrying out compatibility of the Japanese syllabary, a Chinese character, and the manual spelling. The "discourse method" was used to develop the skills in written communication and reading, and the "composition method" aimed at written expression of things.

Especially the speech training used the mouth form, arranged with the fingertips of the both hands which showed the form of the mouth, compared an up-and-down row of teeth and the right thumb as the tongue (発音起源図). All the elements of positions and movements showed how to pronounce a vowel and a consonant.

Therefore, the language education of Furukawa was based on the combination of sign language, fingerspelling, gestures, speech, writing combined with pronunciation (spoken language), reading comprehension, writing a composition, etc. The method was combined by oralism and sign language.

Furukawa invented the manual communication system to be used in teaching, such as the "Japanese fingerspelling chart" (五十音手勢図 1878), "Japanese kana syllabary printing-form sign language" (五十音字形手勢 1879), the sketch of "the numeral signs" (手算法略図 1878), and the "chart of the palm method for writing" (画掌法図 1879), etc., which are much different from the present days. The old, but precious documents are preserved in the Kyoto Prefectural School for the Deaf.

Related link: 
Furukawa Tashiro: first teacher of Deaf children

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