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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Deaf Education in Greece:: The DEAFWAY

Vassilis Kourbetis.

Issues on the education of the Deaf can be approached in two distinct ways: The Hearing Way and the Deaf Way. The existing educational system has been designed and is implemented the Hearing Way. This means that Hearing people have created the system, have created the curriculum, and are the main instructors. As a result, it is basically an oral system (the use of spoken language with Deaf children) with minimal use of Greek Sign Language and almost no Deaf teachers. The products of this system, the Deaf students, graduate with low academic achievement. There has been no input from Deaf people since the inception Deaf education in Greece. Recently, the Greek Government has recognized the validity of Greek Sign Language (GSL). This recognition coupled with current educational reforms has created changes in the approach to educating Deaf children.Our study focuses on the Deaf Community and the Deaf approach to educational reform. Forty-four (44) active members of the Deaf Community were selected to be interviewed on the basis of their schooling experience. These interviews were catalogued as to their suggestions for educational reform. An analysis of the interviews revealed that Deaf people believe that the current schooling system is in need of major changes. It is our intent to present the results of these interviews. In addition, practical and realistic suggestions will be offered based on the opinions and information that the Deaf community members shared. Suggestions as to how to incorporate suggested changes that are in line with academic practices the world over will be offered.


Vassilis Kourbetis  (Greece)
Counsellor of Special Education
Department of Special Education
Hellenic Pedagogical Institute

I am presently a Special Education Counsellor with the Hellenic Pedagogical Institute and I have served as the Director of the National Institute for the Deaf in Greece. My graduate studies and scientific interests focus on educational, sign language and Deaf community issues. My most recent work is NOEMA, a series of multimedia bilingual dictionaries of Greek Sign Language. I am currently working on developing a Greek Sign Language curriculum and assessment instruments.

  • Deaf Community
  • Deaf Education
  • Greece
  • Greek Sign Language

(Virtual Presentation, English)