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Educação & Realidade

versão impressa ISSN 0100-3143versão On-line ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.41 no.3 Porto Alegre jul./set. 2016 


Deaf Education and Bilingual Proposal: activation of new knowledge from the perspective of the philosophy of difference

Vanessa Regina de Oliveira MartinsI 

IUniversidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), São Carlos/SP - Brazil


This article aims to put in dialogue French philosophy and deafness, using the constructs of the authors Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Michel Foucault, regarding the conceptual and creative action of the philosophy of difference. Such a perspective is shown as being the driving force of a militant and powerful thinking to compose new practices in deaf education. Inclusive education and discourses on deafness guided by the sameness logic that erases the difference of being deaf are problematized. How to raise deafness registration possibilities in another logic? As a suggestion, it would be the inconvenience of not doing the same, of not noticing their bodies through orthopedic techniques but to recreate, reactivating other knowledges, as an ethic of being singular. Following this, deaf resistance emerges, made effective by other forms of exercises and life affirmation. It is by enunciating the linguistic difference and by the visual ability given to the singular experience of not hearing, which has marked the petition of a bilingual education (in Brazil): the Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) and the Portuguese language.

Keywords: Deaf Education; Philosophy of Difference; Bilingual Education; Sign Language; Deafness


O presente trabalho objetiva travar um diálogo entre filosofia francesa e surdez, a partir dos constructos dos autores Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari e Michel Foucault, no que tange a ação conceitual e criativa da filosofia da diferença. Tal perspectiva se mostra propulsora de um pensamento militante e potente para compor novas práticas na educação de surdos. Problematiza-se a educação inclusiva e os discursos sobre a surdez pautados na lógica da mesmidade que apaga a diferença surda. Como alçar possibilidades de inscrição da surdez em outra lógica? Como sugestão, seria no incômodo de não se fazer igual, de não reparar seu corpo por meio de técnicas ortopédicas, mas de se recriar, reativando outros saberes, numa ética de se fazer singular. Nessa via, emerge a resistência surda, sendo efetivada por meio de formas outras de exercício e afirmação da vida. É pela enunciação da diferença linguística e pela visualidade conferida à experiência ímpar da não audição que tem se marcado a petição de uma educação bilíngue (no Brasil): língua brasileira de sinais (Libras) e língua portuguesa.

Palavras-chave: Educação de Surdos; Filosofia da Diferença; Educação Bilíngue; Língua de Sinais; Surdez

Deaf Education Through the Phylosofical Lenses of Difference: deafness as a problem

We write only at the frontiers of our knowledge, at the border which separates our knowledge from our ignorance and transforms the one into the other (Deleuze, 2006, p. 18).

By presenting the philosopher as a creator of concepts, Deleuze and Guattari (1992) introduced a novelty in the realm of philosophy, that of going beyond the contemplation of merely true ideas put and pre-formulated beforehand. In other words, it is the conceptual recognition of a transcendental mode, according to the logic of the Platonic philosophy, which marked the Western lines of thinking. In the work of these philosophers, the conceptual production occurs in active and creative actions, with the concepts created and used as tools that operate on specific problems, and that are a part of and lead to novelties in the ways of thinking. "All creation is singular, and the 'concept' as philosophical creation is always a singularity" (Deleuze; Guattari, 1992, p. 15). It is not reproduction, but the activation of new knowledge, always singular to the problems encountered, connecting the multiplicities circumscribed in a given social context, each (concept) connected in its problematical production to a certain plateau or plane of immanence, plan of theorization, with its conceptual characters, called for the development of a theoretical writing, that is (Deleuze; Guattari, 1992). "It is the plan that ensures the adjustment of concepts, with ever increasing connections, and it is those concepts that ensure the settlement of the plan on a renewed curvature, always variable" (Deleuze; Guattari, 1992, p. 53).

Each concept cuts the happening, cuts it in its own way. The greatness of a philosophy assesses the nature of the occurrences to which their concepts summon us, or that it enables us to debug in concepts. Therefore, it is necessary to experiment in its every detail the unique, exclusive bond of the concepts with philosophy as a creative discipline. The concept belongs to philosophy and only to it (Deleuze; Guattari, 1992, p. 47).

Writing, therefore, is to potentialize the creation of a text, which operates in the militancy of a question that by bothering, promotes a multiplying action of thinking. Militant-writing; Action-writing; becoming-writing. Philosophical-conceptual-writing. It is the philosopher's task, in this adopted perspective, to be the writer that produces philosophy, "[...] to create concepts and devise a plan. The concepts are like the many vacancies that rise and lower, but the plane of immanence is the only place that rolls and unrolls" (Deleuze; Guattari, 1992, p. 51). It is, therefore, the place traced to create: it can be the plateau of deafness, for example, taken as a conceptual field for problematizations that out themselves as required. So, we have that the conceptual production exists only by the encounter with a problem that destabilizes the researcher and places him with the challenge of creation. Thus, the problem in the works of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari is in line with the mobilization and action, not stabilization, and therefore, cannot be established beforehand, offered from one to the other, to be something that meets us in our processes and travels, promoting the need for intensive reaction. It is through the encounter with the problem that makes creation possible, in other words, it leads then to the desire - as a creative power - for the discovery, unfolding into a transformation of thought (Deleuze, 2011; Deleuze, Guattari, 1992). From this, we can understand that if the answer to the problem has already been given previously, or already exists, or even if there is certainty in what one expects to find, there is no way to state a problematizing-encounter, since occurrence as a problem-encounter, this movement generates new knowledge in the subject, body knowledge, route effects and collisions, put in the process of walking in search of answers. We can state, with Deleuze (2011), that it would be in par with deterritorialization: a change embedded by certainty, going to other places, or new territorializations, given by the new, promoted by the unrest-problem. "The occurrence mode is problematic" (Deleuze, 2011, p. 57), and so, the ramifications are effects of this operation, which goes through the body, since it will only work for this achievement, given that "[...] occurrences concern exclusively to the problems and define their conditions" (Deleuze, 2011, p. 57). This means that there is no previous definition or theorization for facing the problem. That is the opposition that the author proposes to the theorematic reasoning, since thinking due the occurrence works in the proliferation that emerge from the encounter itself with what becomes to the subject, in a problematic order. There is no way to develop a universal theory for problems that do not yet exist, nor for any practice that means to be universalizing. Even though the field of education, in general, sometimes has this pretension.

The event in itself is problematic and problematizing. One problem, in effect, is not only determined by singular points, which express their conditions. We do not say, therefore, that the problem is solved: on the contrary, it is determined as a problem (Deleuze, 2011, p. 57).

Therefore, we have the occurrence as from the incorporeal, working outside the body, however, promoter of marking and knowledge that from their encounters operate other corporeal knowledges: multiplicity of meanings that are not closed off to a single experience of being and seeing the world (Deleuze, 2011). In the double articulation between incorporeal and corporeal, there is the updating of the occurrence as a productive point and reflections, for proclaiming new and other knowledges in the subject, effects of it. For the multiple promotion of occurrences among many authors that this text was produced, and Foucault (2006) will be called forth to dialogue with the concepts brought on by the works of Deleuze and Guattari (1992), about the writing and multiplicity, in what points of convergence and possible developments connect. In the act of writing, there is a certain hybridity of the subject with what he proposes to write. There is a certain appropriation of content in the route for textual construction. Thus, the habit of writing, of registering, is a technique that, according to Foucault (2006) - by resuming with the old, more precisely with the Hellenistic period, including the Stoic philosophy, the cynics and Epicurus - can only be acquired by exercises and training. In this sense, the author emphasizes writing as part of a self-care that can be acquired by the subject through corporeal practice, through the established routine, or established by the order made. One would be able to say that it is the act of writing itself, and of diving into the words of others, embedded with the subject reader/writer, that shows the appearance an occurrence experimentation, aggregated to stolen memory scenes that reactivate through written materiality. A memory that is invented, and that changes to something else as it is resumed. Again, we reaffirm the need of the encounter, be it with the other, a person, an alter8, a problem, or even another sign emitted (Deleuze, 2010), a theory read, that by affecting the body, hurts, marks and produces other experimentations, no longer being the same memories of what happened before and the effective encounter. Occurrence, here, is thought of as a meeting of bodies. Encounter with the other: subject, signs, theories, knowledge, and as the title of this topic suggests: problems.

From this premise, we have a posture that is built by habit - by doing. Foucault (2006; 2010) studied ways to get, through systematic and reigned corporeal practices, a way to control their concerns, a record and analysis of the lived, for him the way of exercising the self-care, through the practices of freedom (Foucault, 2010) - writing gains the status of being able to offer a certain freedom in its doing, political action. The writing fits as one of the possible techniques of self-care, among many others, being a part of the creation of a way of life, or an aesthetic of existence and self-care, which the author named as the art of living - (tékhne toû bíou). No technique, no professional skill can be acquired without exercise; one can no longer learn the art of living, the tékhne toû bíou, without an askêsis that must be understood as a self-training for oneself: this was one of the traditional principles given importance to, for so long, by the Pythagoreans, Socratics, Cynics. It seems that, among all the forms taken by this training (and that embraced abstinence, memorization, conscience examination, meditation, silence and listening to the other), the writing - the fact of writing for themselves and for others - has played a considerable role for so long. In any case, the imperial era texts, analyzed by Foucault (2010), relate to the practices of the self and constitute most of them the writing exercise theme. "It is necessary to read, Seneca said, but also to write" (Foucault, 2006, p. 146).

The art of living in the militancy of a philosophical-writing of the occurrence are, therefore, implications and approaches of philosophers brought here as intercessors for this production. Writing that manifests through claims and placements. We might say that this text aims to bring contributions and political positions to the education sector, more specifically to deaf education. Philosophical reflections pervade within an immanent plan that understands deafness by the logic of difference, calling for concepts such as: bilingualism, linguistic difference, deaf, and others that articulate within the theoretical and cultural dimension, by means of deaf cultural markers, such as effect resistance and reinvention of this subject by another aesthetic (Lopes, 2007; Martins, 2008; 2103), not a perspective of deafness skewed by a clinical-medical discourse: the deaf as a disabled person is narrated in another logic, here is where we step in narrating deafness as a difference. It was the encounter with another discourse of deafness as a linguistic difference, therefore, that today leads researchers to look into new educational practices, which have been called upon by the deaf militancy. The current paradigm of inclusion is broken, by assigning a school other, inserting the Brazilian sign language (Libras) as an active presence in everyday life.

To bring this philosophical tonic to contemplate deaf education (once more) is to see it as a problem: as that which instigates and mobilizes thinking. This means that deafness as a problem is not the same problem of deafness which refers to a prompt reply, maybe even a corrective action of the body, or disciplining. It is working without a previous answer, starting from the annoyance that the encounters-occurrences, in deaf people saying, in militant action of minor education9, have laid it bare, and presented ways that differ from legitimated in a larger policy, consolidated by the national plans, and in educational guidelines that deal with school practices (Gallo, 2007; 2008). How to act in militancy, in the proliferation of minor education of the deaf, fracturing new knowledge from within, for example, of inclusive policies? How to take the issues in deaf education by linguistic minoritization, seeking for a bilingual perspective, for the ethical franchising of sign language, effectively put in the school routine?

Regarding major education, from a Deleuzian reading, Gallo (2002) defines it through the production of a macro-political control, emerging in public policies for the consolidation of a hegemonic strand of action, based on the sameness and not the multiplicity experienced by radical difference. They occur in the order of large documents that define truths and propose practices to be applied.

Major education is the one from the ten-year plans and public education policies, of the parameters and guidelines, those from the constitution and the LDB, designed and produced by well-thinking heads in the service of power. Major education is the one instituted and that wants to be instituted, to be present, to make it happen. The major education is the one with the great maps and projects (Gallo, 2002, p. 173).

To articulate the possibility of resistance and recreation of striated spaces promoted by a policy aimed for the majority, Gallo (2002) points to the existence of a minor education, from a Deleuzian reading of minor literature, creating other actions in their thinking and in their investigations. Creative-concepts that work are potentialized to operate within the immanence plans, which lead to thinking: education from the perspective of difference and multiplicity, and that can contribute here to think the resistance to the workings of a school that excludes deaf difference, and it (the difference itself) as a problem that runs other logics of enrollment for these subjects.

A minor education is an act of revolt and resistance. Revolt against the established flow, resistance to imposed policies; classroom as trenches, as the mouse hole, the dog hole. Classroom as a space from which we draw our strategies, we establish our militancy, producing a present and a future behind or beyond any educational policy. A minor education is an act of singling out and of militancy (Gallo, 2002, p. 173).

Resistance to imposed policies was undoubtedly the mobilizing theme of Professor Robert Johnson's speech (Gallaudet University - USA) at the I Meeting of the education, research and extension center on deaf education and Libras - Ceslibras - and the V Meeting - Pedagogical Support Services: contributions for inclusive education (Sape) -, which occurred in FEUSP [School of Education of Universidade Federal de São Paulo] in May 2015. At this event, whose main intention was questioning the deaf education of today and the re-thinking about bilingual education in practice, Professor Robert Johnson begins his lecture by saying that educating the deaf is a simple thing - we keep the quotes and highlight the speech due to the double meaning of the assertion, and at the same time, keeping a certain irony perceived in the live enunciation of it, while listening to the event. The irony occurs when he points out the simplicity of it and at the same time the lack of an effective bilingual education policy. For him, such action must be thought as education for any other person. He brings up again, in his speech, the theme that was announced in the title of this section of text:

[...] deaf education is something very simple, and it's something I've been talking about since the beginning of my research when I started my work at Gallaudet University. I have not changed anything in the way I think a bilingual education for the deaf should be, sign language has to be there. The problem is that nothing has changed, I have continued for years saying the same thing, and the school producing the same frustrating way of education for the deaf: education that includes nothing10 (Johnson, 2015).

Resuming, it is interesting to note the double articulation used in the speech of Professor Johnson: while there is a simplicity in the effectiveness of bilingual education for the deaf, there is the not listening and the reproduction of the sameness, promoted by a strand of thought that standardizes the education by logic of the oral language; an education geared towards failure and not anchored to the singularity marked by deafness, that sees the deaf through the sign language for their visual and cultural productions. Why such difficulty in consolidating bilingual policies? It could be said that, although it is easy to argue that sensitive education for the deaf is done by sign language, as the language of instruction and not as a co-adjuvant of the main language, Portuguese, however, in practice, the main, larger language is presented as an exclusive work, as the predominant model kept in the school curriculum. Would it be thinking the perpetuation of an inclusion that excludes the deaf difference? Regarding the theme of inclusion as a domination by the other, in the double articulation include-exclude, Veiga-Neto and Lopes (2011), at an event sponsored by the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUCSP), the VII International Colloquium Michel Foucault, in October 2011, developed a theoretical articulation on the inclusion system in Brazil, fracturing his sense elsewhere, as an action which currently extends to all bodies, not just those who have been named as "abnormal, excluded, delinquents, handicapped, etc.". (Veiga-Neto; Lopes, 2011, no page). A machinery of agglutination and production of sameness. This study was promoted from the philosophical reading of Michel Foucault, the final works of his writings that resume the concept of ethics and aesthetics of existence, to consider the possibility of enrollment of deafness not by the prevailing logic, but by the irruption of other forms of enunciation. They announced, however, that:

In the case of speeches dealing with the inclusion of the deaf, for example, almost always they seem to ignore the will of the other and give a minimum possibility for the exercise of freedom. In our studies, we have found situations where the listeners position themselves as the only ones able to say what is best for the education of the deaf. Often, it is as if rationality were a missing faculty in deaf, seen as unable of self-leading; consequently, the listenerism is assumed - by listeners, of course... - as safe conduct for tutelary actions (Veiga-Neto; Lopes, 2011, p. 10).

If inclusion is the effect of the exclusion process highly formulated in the capitalist society that operates within an efficient machinery, by categorizing and naming any form of difference, this way, there will always be the capture by a normative and voracious system. It seems that deafness is still prescribed, classified and therefore nominated in education by enrollment, or logic, pathological. The repair for the deaf and his body occurs in the sameness of an education offer by a language that biologically, by the non-listening condition, the deaf cannot access: inclusion here works really for the promotion of exclusion. For changes or reactive forces, thus requires a new discursive configuration and new knowledge to emerge in educational relationships, developing into new practices that fracture posed and apparently perpetuated truths, as Professor Robert Johnson pointed out in his problematizing and instigating discourse; and also present in the concerns brought by Veiga-Neto and Lopes (2011), regarding the way of attributing truth through the neoliberal institutional practices in the field of education and the possibilities of reactive manifestations. How to enable the entrance of another education or transformations, leaving the discursive sameness that theorized for so long the deaf education, producing an education by and for the deaf?

Deaf Bilingual Education: heading new knowledge constructions to beyond those affirmed

Criticism is to ferret out thinking and to rehearse change; to show that things are not as evident as they are believed to be, to do so that it is accepted as existing in itself, not to be more itself. To criticize is to make difficult the too easy gestures. Under these conditions, the critique - and the radical critique - is absolutely indispensable for any transformation (Foucault, 2006, p. 180).

Rehearsing change requires action, displacement, activation of new knowledge. An arduous task and that requires passage through the constitutions that make us in the historical contingencies that has us as effect, and thus rehearse thinking another way. Deaf education to be something else, produced as advocating bilingual education for deaf militancy requires shifting and opening to think the deaf elsewhere, and sign language as constitutive of the school environment and the learning process - this is the initial assumption (Lodi; Albuquerque, 2016). Promoting a historicizing in the field of deafness, we noticed that the deaf has been narrated as a person with disabilities, computed within the target group of special education. This would not be strained if there was dialogue between managers of special education, between knowledges which constitute truths about deafness in the field of special education, and the deaf movements. However, the deaf claim not to enroll as disabled and in the lack of the same hearing, to be marked by a distinct visual experience than the listener, and due to this same lacking, have the need to be constituted by means of a visual-gestural language, as is the case of the Brazilian sign language (Souza, 2006; Martins, 2008). It may seem obvious and simple, this statement, however, this position generates a radical tension with the policies for people with disabilities in the context of inclusive education: not that the deaf shy away from wanting to be together with people who are able to hear, but in showing clearly their linguistic difference, point to the need for distinguished educational strategies - a petition that marks the construction of a school other11, beyond that which is given. Thus, a school can be inclusive if it offers a space for learning and building in the difference, using the visuality that sign language marks in the deaf body. Here, we share the use of a heterotopic experience, produced by Foucault (2013), when analyzing the implementation of spatial uses of senses by children, such as the parents' bed which may serve as a recreational space, going beyond the social role given to it. Heterotopia proposes the construction of a space other produced in militant action. "The adult society has organized, long before children, their own counter-spaces [...]" (Foucault, 2013, p. 20). Inclusion may be taken as a counter space or a deaf heterotopia that promotes education other within the schools we already have, reformulating, what was originally thought for inclusive education. Luz (2013) names the deaf petition as a subjective form of appearance, and points out that, for the occurrence of such a subjective process, it is necessary to assume the presence of a common language, of a body that can manifest itself freely, with their differences and feel oneself welcomed by another, who shares their language and effective manifestation of the body that appears.

Appearance is to act not by pragmatism, nor by external order. It is to live the gesture that enables the event itself, it is to live the end in itself, it is to exist in the world with no tethers. It is living in the horizontal experience of equality with Others that may live as real, the traits that characterize us as human beings. [...] To appear, is to be symbolically standing in the presence of Others (Luz, 2013, p. 45).

How can the deaf appearance occur in a school that does not welcome the language as it is? How to be someone in front of others who relate to others through oppression or deletion of a language that is minority, following the logic of an oral language, socially conveyed as being common, in a predominantly hearing society? This logic, of resistance, and the attempt to construct the appearance of the deaf in school, some institutional initiatives come up, operating on the fracture sameness linked to deafness. It presents here as an allegory of these movements a bilingual education program, which originates as a project, through the affirmation subsidized by the Decree 5626/05 (Brazil, 2005). The proposal, offered in some cities in the countryside of São Paulo, here analyzed, is to produce within the common inclusive school, an entrance space and permanence of the deaf (Lacerda; Santos; Martins, 2016)12. These are proposals for changes in the school, from hiring bilingual teachers (fluent in Libras - Brazilian Sign Language - and Portuguese), deaf linguistic model educators for deaf children, sign language interpreters, and even something deeper that stirs the structural bases and entrenched paradigms of the inclusive design, which would be the Libras language instruction rooms. Classrooms in which educators teach directly in Libras, and therefore erase the need for interpreter mediation. These are classrooms open to any student as long as he or she understands that education will be taught only using Libras, and the Portuguese will be relegated to a second language. This proposal, of classrooms with Libras instructions, in the observed projects, have been suggested for early childhood education and those early years of elementary school, because the translational activity is still very complex for children13. Besides the importance of deaf peers in language acquisition (Lodi; Albuquerque, 2016). The discourses that defend radical inclusion have distinct historical motivations that feed the prospect of a bilingual education. Theoretical conclusions about deafness, described in this text, promote different ways of thinking about deafness and with it, apparently makes dialogues impossible. We state the need for negotiation between those who propose radical inclusion, with the deaf community and the academic militancy that defends education through Libras, so that theoretical and practical differences, such as keeping the deaf student without sign language in school, may be rethought. One point of divergence observed in the proposed project for bilingual inclusive education in some municipal systems is exactly the need, in kindergarten education and the early years of elementary school education (1st to 5th grade), for Libras only classrooms to be opened, with bilingual teachers - as mentioned above. This occurs because such proposal influences the choice (by parents) of those who will attend it - and here we have a political problem as an obstacle to the maintenance of these projects. Consider the statement of Decree 5626/05:

Art. 22. The federal educational institutions responsible for basic education should ensure the inclusion of deaf or hearing impaired students through the organization of: I - schools and classrooms for bilingual education, open to deaf and listening students with bilingual educators in early childhood education and the early years of elementary education; II - bilingual schools or common schools of the regular school system, open to deaf students and listeners, for the final years of elementary school, high school or vocational education, with faculty from different areas of knowledge, aware of the linguistic uniqueness of deaf students, as well as the presence of translators and interpreters of Libras - Portuguese.

§1 Bilingual schools or classrooms are those where Libras and the written form of the Portuguese language are instruction languages used in the development of the whole educational process (Brazil, 2005, p. 28, author's emphasis).

Tension occurs by the argument put forth by the legal document, and marked in italics, showcasing the need for openings classrooms with Libras instruction. Each manager understands the Decree in a certain way, promoting different practices. Libras instruction classrooms are definitely different from classrooms with a sign language interpreter. In the project, the Libras instruction classrooms were left only with deaf students due to social issues we will present below. We had to justify the exclusivity of the deaf, since the document points to the presence of deaf and listeners, and consequently, there was the petition to close these classrooms. This structure did not seem pleasant to the secretary of education after some time. However, we justify their maintenance, as the question posed is the working language of these classrooms, Libras in this case. Clearly, with this, enrollment in these classrooms is reserved in its entirety to deaf students. Not due to the prohibition of hearing people, since the Decree 5626/05 specifies that these are classrooms for deaf and listeners alike. Since Libras is still a language not widely or socially recognized, even with legal representation, and a growing visibility already achieved, parents who have hearing children have not sought a bilingualism of this order. The Department attack tone for closing this space and for the disarticulation of projects like this one, claiming that these classrooms are recognized as segregation of spaces, or as the old models of special classrooms, even if we had a proven process of better performance of deaf children in these classrooms. Dialogue was lost and again we had to start over and seek new ways of fracturing the system proliferating differences, by questioning settled truths (Lacerda; Santos; Martins, 2016)14.

We return to the question posed by Robert Johnson: why does the thing that seems so simple generates so many controversies and a constant divergence? What is the issue of not release Libras instruction classrooms? It is clear that opening Libras instruction classrooms hurts some settled truths, that are intended to be immortalized: 1) that inclusion only occurs in the presence of subjects who are different (marked by disability) in the same space or a common circulation space; 2) that the language of instruction should be the Portuguese language, when keeping a monolingual glance in Brazil, where educational policies and practices are so led; 3) that with the configuration of bilingual classrooms, we formulate the discussion of multigrade classrooms and even if we discuss education in grades, years are something ingrained in schools, in other words, having students from different grades/years in the same classroom would be something that hurts school logic, although it is recommended in official documents.

As mentioned above, and I reiterate the discussion once more, since it is an important theme to be questioned nowadays and in this article, thus justifies the opening of such spaces: by pointing out the need for bilingual schools or classrooms, the decree states that deaf or listener students may be present in these classrooms, but reiterates that bilingual room is only that which uses Libras as the language of instruction - a core data to the argument that bears repeating! This means that the contents will be taught using sign language and not using translation processes, sign language interpreters, or in co-faculty. In opening bilingual classrooms, as occurred at the beginning of the program here presented, the proposal is that, in this room, educators teach in Libras, and for such, students would have to learn and master this language, like a bilingual school of oral languages: English-Portuguese. As previously stated, this implies the family's decision to enroll their children in a classroom where the language of instruction is not Portuguese, but the sign language. As we know, Libras is not a language of social prestige, like other oral languages, and for this reason, students enrolled in this classroom were only deaf students; this is the justification. We reiterate that in central school projects, there has never been any impediment of the public frequenting this area, only the language that would be a priority as a means of school education, which has promoted a certain population group: deaf people. The low amount of deaf students to promote classrooms for specific grades/years, plus the need for deaf groups so that linguistic exchanges could occur, led to the opening of multigrade classrooms, of first and second cycles. A challenge remains for the construction of this school other, though possible, so as to show positive results in experiments like those conducted in some cities in the state of São Paulo (Lacerda; Santos; Martins, 2016).

At this point, we bring forth theoretical foundations that aid us in thinking the discursive difficulty for changes in deaf education in inclusive schools. For this, we will use concepts and thoughts from Foucault (2014), presenting his lecture on the will to know at the Collège de France. In his explanation, he points to certain grains of Western knowledge taken as absolute truth, which have gained strength at the expense of other grains, and this knowledge are shown as thrusters of practices and construction of existential modes. There is a predominance of the Aristotelian philosophy in the West, oppressing other truths that may want to establish themselves in thinking men and knowledge, such as the Sophistic line of thought, among others. Of this relationship, Foucault (2014) shows us the presence of power games that allow the appearance of consonants truths with speeches, or discursive formations, which feed in a way of understanding the subject, the truth, and its relationship with the body within institutional practices. Knowledge interconnected with truths. Let's see, if the disciplinary knowledge has operated in societies since the 17th century, strongly culminating in the 19th century, it is no wonder these practices work in school gears. In the case of deaf education, widespread historical linguistic oppression in 1880, at the late 19th century is well known, and the orthopedic practices born from corrective and disciplinary models of the deaf body, the so-called oralism: sign language seen as threat to the moment that consolidates the policies for the promotion of the United Nations, and national languages. The use of sign languages is thus banned, as a threat to the monolingual project of the ​​construction of national languages, and more, the disabled body, in the speeches started in the 17th century, may be conceived as normal if these subjects taken as animalistic, who gesticulate instead of articulating the mouth, organ responsible for the transmission of speech, actually learn the oral speech - in this vision (Soares, 1999; Martins, 2008).

In this complex and brief panorama, we see which historical affiliations mark the discipline in the deaf body and the process of normalizing the language. Evidently, history is fought by leaps and struggles, and the deaf resistance make an epistemological twist, allowing openness to new knowledge. According to Foucault (2014), new knowledge only appears as truth if it can conquer and occupy a political space for that. This is how we have the tension to build a school for the deaf in inclusive schools, perverting inclusion itself, from the origin of it, to no longer work on homogenizing tendency. To circulate deaf knowledge in this new scenario. This is a challenge currently offered: think of a school that is inclusive and therefore may work with structured practices for deaf people as well. With educational organizations and proposals that can meet the needs of deaf students. A new school able to present alternatives and organizational structures that meet the linguistic and cultural needs of deaf students. Therefore, deaf classrooms, or Libras instruction classrooms, should not be seen as a school for the deaf within an inclusive school. But a strategy that appears within an inclusive school that offers bilingual education for the deaf and that does not fear the new, places other, and modes other of education.

Nothing is easy and paradigm changes require subjective change, new interiorizations and other settled truths.

In other words, it would mean knowing if the will to truth is not as deeply historical as any other system of exclusion; if the root is not as arbitrary as they are; if it is not modifiable as they are in the course of history; if, like them, it is not supported and, like them, it is not constantly reactivated throughout an institutional network; if it does not form a system of coercion that is exercised not only on other speeches but on a whole range of other practices. In short, it is to know what real struggles and which relationships of domination are mobilized in the will to truth (Foucault, 2014, p. 4).

Above all, for another will to truth to really be established, there is need to wage constant shock and battling forces. The need for school changes grows, for the difference to be entered in deaf education, in general. Although we have highlighted here bilingual project experiences in basic education, there is still some way to go for the consolidation of educational policies, as well as project proposals that can be paralyzed. The production of deaf language and educational policies is affirmed within the bilingual aspect that takes the sign language as constitutive to the deaf subject and his education. Therefore, it is part of another form of knowledge construction and affirmation with its new forms of knowledge - so that the deaf student constitutes at school an exchange space and that his differences not be castrated, by the logic of the same, by the logic that has been built to be considered normal, for the hegemonic practices that are not equalitarian, to the extent that it prunes all differences.

Some Considerations from the Effects Produced by this Article

How to take deafness as a problem in the perspective of difference here presented? When meeting with this, it does not, primarily, define what deafness can mean for the deaf: a lacking and a training towards corrective orthopedics for the body. When we potentiate hearing the effects and consequences that meeting with the difference can cause. The school, consolidated within a logic of the macro, or the macro policy excludes the enunciation of many differences, among them, and for the means of this article, the deaf difference. By placing ourselves in a tense position to reshape ourselves to the signed truths, opening ways of experimenting with the other, in their petition, putting ourselves in the process of constant refraction of ourselves with the other: a writing of oneself permanent and reflective.

Not a truth for the other anymore, but a search for the other, mobilizing actions, doings and concepts that seem immutable. Hurting the logic posed by radical inclusion is not meant to minimize the contributions this side thought to bring, but to enhance the move to another place, a heterotopic place. When we do not conform with a ready-made structure, that cannot be changed; but, when change is announced and set as required for the registration of multiple forms of life that wish to be affirmed. Truths are inventions that can have constant reformulations, subject to questioning. An ethical other, a school where the deaf can enroll in and, thus, write their story with us, without being an imposition of this history written in advance should be, is certainly an area in which the sign language and deaf cultural practices are present. In short, deafness as a problem is deafness as an event that speaks about other practices, still not really open to dialogue in the schools we have today. A powerful problem that moves us still to talk about deafness, education and school as a space for affirming difference.

Translation from Portuguese: Hamilton Fernandes

Translation Proofreader: Ananyr Porto Fajardo


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8The use of alter here, refers to the alterity given as constitution of knowledge in the encounter with the difference, in other words, the necessary relationship of the encounter with the other for the construction of one's self.

9Minor education not as inferior, but as opposition to the hegemonic discourses, proliferating differences. See the work developed by Gallo (2008), in which this concept is better explained.

10Professor Robert Johnson speaks at the event presented along the text. The event was translated from English to Portuguese, however, at some points the speaker chose to make use of the Portuguese language. Mainly in the illustrations and daily exemplification that he felt more ease enunciating in the foreign language. Interestingly, Robert, at the start of the lecture, states he cannot speak in Portuguese (stating that in Portuguese), because he finds himself only able to use the language informally, judging himself unable to master the Portuguese language for a presentation on stage. This given illustration shows how the language and its uses reflect in political action and in the way the speaker sees the potential and permission of its use. However, at times when he makes direct use of the Portuguese language on stage, fracturing and lessening the language itself, he promotes more fruitful meetings with viewers, who may be directly affected by the senses launched without the interpretation made by professionals placed on the relationship between viewer and speaker.

11I make use of the term school other and not other school because I understand them as being different process and conceptual doings. Foucault (2013), in his work Utopian body, heterotopias, promoted a reflection of spaces others as places of resistance, opening into spaces that seem made by sameness. This spatial displacement is the resistance, which promotes openings other to live libertarian experiences that can only be experienced in revolutionary action, in a fracturing context of placed truths, reworded in other practices.

12This is just one of the many bilingual experiences in Brazil that is cited in this article for having been experiences more closely monitored by the researcher. However, as a reading indication, a proposal which falls in the same category is the Bilingualism program in the city of Niterói/Rio de Janeiro, described and analyzed in a dissertation by Meireles (2014). The program proposes the reorganization of what is considered inclusive action, promoting a space for sharing and coexistence of the deaf as the protagonist of their own learning process, bringing sign language to the center of pedagogical action.

13To know more about research experiments in Libras instruction classrooms, see chapter of Lodi and Albuquerque (2006). The writing shows the workings of a Libras language instruction classroom that has been investigated and points out the benefits to a deaf child of being linguistically welcomed into the school.

14We will not go deeper into the path of inclusive bilingual education projects, but we have research that proves the possibility of its production and the need for insistence for school reconfiguration of what bilingual practices mean in inclusive schools. About this, we have launched a project School and Difference, promoting pathways of bilingual educational practices for the deaf.

Received: December 23, 2015; Accepted: March 07, 2016

Vanessa Regina de Oliveira Martins holds a PhD in Education by the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Professor and researcher of Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar) in the Undergraduate Program in Translation and Interpretation in Libras/Portuguese. Researcher of the Foundation to the Support of Research of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP), process number 2015/09357-4. E-mail:

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