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Foreword to the Thematic Section - Education for the Hearing Impaired: philosophical, linguistic and pedagogical developments

Lucyenne Matos da Costa Vieira-Machado Maura Corcini Lopes About the authors

After the proliferation of policies on diversity and the creation of Federal Law 10,436/2002 (that recognizes the Brazilian Language of Signs - LIBRAS as a language with its own grammatical structure that constitutes a linguistic system of practices transmission built in hearing-impaired communities in Brazil), it became difficult not to consider their developments in the life and education of hearing-impaired people. In the educational and linguistic fields, whether regarding the analysis of educational practices that occur in universities, schools and other spaces where a relationship with others is established, whether in the definition of language communities that use LIBRAS, i.e., in the research on the processes of government and subjectivation of hearing-impaired individuals, the fact is that discussions on the recognition of the difference of the hearing impaired are more alive than ever.

As is well known, since the last decade of the last century to the present day, the hearing impaired are increasingly conquering their rights. Today, in addition to having sign language recognized as their language, hearing-impaired people are graduating in different courses of Brazilian universities, taking public sector recruitment examinations, teaching their language to people interested in learning it, guiding researchers who are starting their academic lives in universities, actively participating in the bibliographical production on hearing-impaired individuals, protesting on the streets, making political campaigns, defining educational practices, requiring good quality interpreters in institutions etc. To analyze and problematize practices on the hearing impaired and their education is a condition to produce new realities and keep fighting against any updated and active form of negative discrimination (Castel, 2008CASTEL, Robert. A Discriminação Negativa: cidadão ou autóctone? Petrópolis: Vozes, 2008.). When we talk about fighting against negative discrimination, we are talking about the historic practice of normalization of individuals by correcting their bodies and/or minimizing the presence of hearing impaiment in their lives. In this dossier, to centrally address hearing impairment does not mean to consider it as a disability. On the contrary, hearing impairment is a presence in the body of the person who does not hear. A presence that adds value of belonging to a linguistic community in particular, which shares a life form without hearing. Therefore, although the expression hearing impairment makes us recall many stories of correction of the abnormality in the body of the hearing impaired, it also gained (throughout the history of hearing-impaired people) social and cultural representations that allow it to be read as a primordial condition (Lopes, 2007LOPES, Maura Corcini. Surdez & Educação. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2007.) to the existence and identification of a group of people.

In this dossier, we work with the concept of hearing impairment as a primary difference to discuss what belongs to the hearing-impaired people and their community, leaving aside what characterizes other specific communities.

So, as proponents/organizers of this thematic section, we think it is important to emphasize the theoretical and methodological aspects under which the articles listed and briefly discussed below are articulated. Considering, then, hearing impairment as a materiality on which different practices are inscribed (highlighting here the practices that create the cultural difference of the hearing impaired), we were interested in bringing together researchers, from the fields of education, linguistics and philosophy, who would provide elements to think about education for the hearing impaired. In a more detailed way, based on Federal Decree 5,626/2005, which regulates the Law from 2002 mentioned above, they provided us with arguments to develop experiences of bilingual education for the hearing impaired (LIBRAS/written Portuguese), as well as to problematize experiences of school inclusion experienced by hearing-impaired students.

Considering the topicality of the discussion, the few studies circulating in the academia on the theme, and the growing demand for new research on education and bilingual education for the hearing impaired, the authors we gathered here divulge the results of their investigations. They have the firm purpose to share and circulate knowledge produced in different Brazilian states. In addition to the Brazilian researchers, the dossier also counts with researchers from Ireland and Colombia. Together, they allow local knowledge to become international.

Given the above, we will present below a summary of the texts that compose this dossier.

The article that opens this thematic section, written by Lucyenne Matos da Costa Vieira-Machado and Maura Corcini Lopes, The Constitution of a Bilingual Education and the Training of Teachers for Deaf Students, covers the establishment of a bilingual education from the training of teachers for hearing-impaired students. The authors use the notion of formative path and defend the teacher for hearing-impaired students as a specific intellectual.

With a linguistic point of view, Carlos Henrique Rodrigues and Hanna Beer Furtado, in article Rights, Policies and Languages: divergences and convergences in/from/for deaf education, address linguistic interactions in the classroom, as well as the teaching and learning process in bilingual LIBRAS/Portuguese contexts. From contexts of inclusion of the hearing impaired with hearing people and a group of hearing-impaired students, the article problematizes the learning of individuals.

Considering the strong indigenous context present in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Marilda Moraes Garcia Bruno and Luciana Lopes Coelho, in article Discourses and Practices in the Inclusion of Deaf Indians in Differentiated Indigenous Schools, dealt with the conditions of indigenous villages regarding hearing-impaired members, to establish an intercultural dialogue within the village.

To articulate pedagogy and interpretation, Ivone Martins de Oliveira and Keli Simões Xavier Silva approach, in article The Work of the Brazilian Sign Language Interpreter at School: a case study, from the context of bilingual education for the hearing impaired, the work of the LIBRAS interpreter in the classroom. When analyzing observations and interviews with interpreters, the authors focus on the types of interpreting used in schools and the job of mediator performed by the interpreter in the relationship between teacher and student.

Using the philosophy of difference, mainly when establishing a dialogue with French philosophers, such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Vanessa Regina de Oliveira Martins, in article Deaf Education and Bilingual Proposal: activation of new knowledge from the perspective of the philosophy of difference, shows the power of such theoretical framework to reflect on and discuss teaching practices in the education of hearing-impaired students.

Approximating speech therapy and pedagogy, the article by Felipe Venâncio Barbosa, Identifying Atypical Sign Language by Bilingual Speech Therapy Clinics and Schools for the Deaf, contributes with a discussion, yet little developed in Brazil, about bilingual education. The goal is to present a case of partnership between a bilingual speech therapy service and schools for the hearing impaired, in the city of São Paulo, of identifying and making initial referrals of cases of atypical sign language.

The goal of the article by Adriana da Silva Thoma, Bilingual Education in Educational and Linguistic Policies for the Deaf: government discourses and strategies, is to problematize government speeches and strategies used by the educational and linguistic policies to the hearing impaired. The author argues that both the bilingual education offered at regular schools and the bilingual education that occurs in schools for the hearing impaired are strategies for hearing-impaired identities and differences to be governed.

Starting from an educational context different from those lived in Brazil, Patrick McDonnell, in Disability, Deafness and Ideology in the late Twentieth and early Twenty-first Centuries, discusses issues of the education for the hearing impaired typical of the European and Irish realities. The author makes a sociological discussion about educational issues involving hearing-impaired individuals in our time.

The Colombian Lyda Solange Prieto Soriano, in article Project-Based Pedagogy for Classrooms: an alternative for teaching written spanish to first-cycle children, on her turn, analyzes a case of educational intervention in a school with hearing-impaired students in the city of Bogotá. Addressing the processes of reading and writing acquisition in a bilingual education for hearing-impaired students perspective, she presents to us a little more of the practices of one of the Latin American countries.

In short, our interest in organizing this dossier was to gather researchers to put into circulation a bit of the production on education for the hearing impaired, with emphasis on the subject of bilingual education for hearing-impaired students. We hope that the socialization of the knowledge produced stimulate readers to think the education for the hearing impaired in a bilingual perspective.


  • LOPES, Maura Corcini. Surdez & Educação. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2007.
  • CASTEL, Robert. A Discriminação Negativa: cidadão ou autóctone? Petrópolis: Vozes, 2008.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Jul-Sep 2016
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul - Faculdade de Educação Avenida Paulo Gama, s/n, Faculdade de Educação - Prédio 12201 - Sala 914, 90046-900 Porto Alegre/RS – Brasil, Tel.: (55 51) 3308-3268, Fax: (55 51) 3308-3985 - Porto Alegre - RS - Brazil