Friday, January 20, 2012

(Rare!) Helen Keller & Anne Sullivan (1930 Newsreel Footage)

When Belief Overrides Doubt

One of my students found inspiration from what he learned about Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. There was, because of his own early learning needs, a deep appreciation for what it was that Helen Keller had to overcome and a deep appreciation for the dedication of Anne Sullivan.

I am sharing his completed paper, in response to a school assignment, for it speaks to the very principles inherent in the APOGEE Achiever™ Program of which he has been a participant. Yes, he knows that belief can and does override doubt. Yes, he has learned that different learning styles are to be seen as challenges that require understanding and appropriate supports. His progress has been notable, his humanity exemplary.

Helen Keller

During the 1880s people who were deaf or blind were considered mentally handicapped and generally put in mental asylums. This was because the community felt there was no where else to send people with these handicaps. Handicapped people generally did not have the resources or understanding from the whole community as they do today. In the, “Miracle Worker,” Helen Keller, as a very young child was not blind nor deaf. An illness ensued and she lost her hearing and sight. In that time, people did not have the medical knowledge to understand what caused such a loss. It was assumed that if one was blind and also deaf, that they could not be educated nor disciplined as a normal child could be. The assumption was that without the ability to be taught or disciplined they could never learn the skills that would allow themselves to earn a living. Without the ability to earn a living, it was concluded that such a person could not have an independent life nor hope for a family of their own.

It becomes clear that knowledge and belief direct a course of action. It was the belief of “The Miracle Worker,” Anne Sullivan, that within Helen Keller there was a deep intelligence that was not able to be expressed. When first being introduced to Helen, it was clear that discipline was never introduced to Helen by her parents. Helen was given free reign without the usual requirements that would allow one to develop appropriate social skills. Anne Sullivan knew that if she was to be of any benefit to Helen Keller, the first step had to be one of disciplinary action. The kind yet strong position of care that Anne Sullivan took, was based on what were to become the very words that Helen Keller presented in her later adult years.

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller

Anne Sullivan proves that Helen was indeed capable, could be made to understand commands, was capable of developing a means of communication, and could indeed be a model of hope, faith and promise for others with handicapping conditions. The landmark progress that Anne Sullivan was able to bring to Helen Keller redefined the meaning of ‘can’t and can.‘ Programs that support, rather than confine those that are blind and/or deaf, have allowed many to live fully productive and satisfying lives. Braille, sign language, lip reading, and many newly developed technical supports have allowed what was once seen as impossible to be a new reality.

Well trained seeing eye dogs can further bring mobility and safety to a blind person. Hearing aids have been developed that have brought improved hearing to one that may otherwise be deaf. Books on tape have brought the spoken word to blind people. Technology, along with the determination to improve the quality of life with those with handicapping conditions have brought about significant changes and most certainly a measure of dignity that once did not exist. MF


APOGEE Learning ™ is a system of learning and educational therapy that considers the visual, auditory, motor, psychological, attitudinal, kinesthetic, cognitive, biochemical, nutritional, neurological, educational, vibrational and reciprocal factors that relate to learning and creativity. It addresses the Academics and the Arts.

Through the use of Cognitive Kinesiology™ the student is brought closer to understanding the integrative action of the mind-body energy system. The student experiences the communication between the mind and body and comes to more fully appreciate the power of one’s own inner resources.

The assessment experience provides the student with opportunities to explore how behavior and stress patterns affect mind-body energy. The student is given the opportunity to more fully appreciate the interrelationship of the physical, mental, creative, and spiritual self. The student comes closer to understanding how his or her learning and creativity are influenced by what he or she has experienced, feels, attracts, knows, thinks, believes, wants, enjoys and fears. To know these aspects of self is to know the keys or locks to learning and creativity.

APOGEE Learning™ allows us to better understand and implement the supports, modifications, adjustments and educational approaches that are needed to assure effective learning and stress management.

and so the intent and goal of

The APOGEE Achiever™ Program...

With autonomy, mastery, and purpose
creative, caring, free thinkers
and doers are developed.

All inquiries are welcomed. All posts will receive a response.

The APOGEE Achiever Program
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APOGEE Learning ~ A Whole Child Paradigm

Learning styles honored and supported
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Task analysis applied
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The Whole Brain approach to study and mastery

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  1. Posted responses:

    Ivan Youngblood wow

    PNS ... That was just amazing footage, and the student's paper was great.

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    1. Jackie, Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your interest. If you ever have a question do not hesitate to post for I would be pleased to respond. Best on to you.

      Rose Marie Raccioppi