Education: Lesson Cluster Overview

Cluster Introduction

In Educating the Senses: The 19th Century Awakes to Reform, we examine the pioneering efforts to educate blind and deaf children in specialized institutions. These institutions were founded during the period of unprecedented zeal and optimism called the Second Great Awakening. Schools that later became the American School for the Deaf and the Perkins School for the Blind were established as part of larger moral efforts to improve American society, often through education. These residential schools for the first time in American history brought together large numbers of people with a shared experience of sensory disability.

"Educating the Senses in the Second Great Awakening" examines the evangelical Protestant roots of the deaf and blind schools and the processes by which they were established. "Education Reform & Common Schools" looks at some of the same processes but places them in the context of the education reforms for nondisabled students advocated by Horace Mann. Finally, "Heathens Among Us" focuses on the establishment of the American School for the Deaf and the alliance that made American Sign Language possible.