Learning from indigenous People’s cultural pedagogies

Janie Cristine Amaral


The work presented in this article is part of my PhD at University of Bristol (2009). This particular study has explored the nature of Brazilian Gaucho Deaf communities’ ethos in relation to Deaf education based on a comparison to South Brazilian Guarani indigenous communities’ ethos. I worked with a group of twelve Deaf professionals from Rio Grande do Sul; all informants had a teaching degree, four of them were researchers too. This work involved examining the group’s teaching practices and views compared to a selection of literature on indigenous cultural pedagogies. I call these Deaf teachers ‘educators’, for this is the term they use to define their job and their work as leaders in the communities; they have a critical pedagogy understanding of this term and role (FREIRE, 1982b). I used critical ethnography with the deaf communities as a methodology. I did observations in the field with Deaf people and interviews. I gathered information from literature on indigenous people to draw this first comparison between the two groups, deaf and indigenous communities.  The study results support the premise that Deaf pedagogies are effectively cultural pedagogies and share common aspects with indigenous pedagogies. The work also includes reflections on the methodological implications of intercultural research. Deaf studies research linking culture and education have only just started. This preliminary study has indicated that there is a great need for further research with Deaf communities and Deaf people working in Deaf education, in order to increase our understanding of Deaf epistemologies and Deaf pedagogical practices. Deaf pedagogies need to be acknowledged, valued and supported if Sign Languages and Deaf Cultures are to be preserved; the promotion of Deaf pedagogies and deaf-centered approaches in Deaf learning spaces is vital to the quality of community life and the successful socio, cultural and professional integration of Deaf people in both hearing and Deaf worlds.  


Deaf pedagogies. Indigenous pedagogies. Deaf education. Minority education.

Texto completo:



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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20395/fb.v0i38.515


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ISSN Impresso: 1518-2509
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