Portuguese sign language curriculum: past, present and future

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The Portuguese Sign Language (hereinafter LGP) is linked to the deaf education in Portugal for decades. Its genesis is found in the first institutes in Lisbon and Porto in the 19th century, in which a considerable number of deaf people had gathered and developed signed communication systems. During the 19th century, the methodologies used in their education were based on these signed systems and the manual alphabet. With the advent of oralist methodologies introduced in Portugal, these signed communication systems were banned from the classroom, although deaf students continued to develop their sign communication clandestinely. The LGP was rescued in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century as a result of the studies carried out by the University of Lisbon in partnership with the Portuguese Association of the Deaf, and of the first attempts to implement bilingual education for deaf students. Both developments demonstrated the need to teach LGP as a first language to deaf students and the construction of an LGP curriculum. The first national LGP curriculum is published (DGIDC, 2008) with the publication of the Decree-Law 3/2008, which regulated deaf bilingual education for the first time in its Article 23. In 2018, two new Decree-Laws were published (54/2018 and 55/2018) that revoke the previous Decree-Law and promote a curriculum review of all school subjects. To understand the effectiveness of the 2008 LGP curriculum, we carried out an exploratory study. We interviewed four deaf LGP teachers who suggested the reformulation of the LGP curriculum, respecting the 2018 legislation and the reality of the current deaf school population.
Translated title of the contributionO currículo de língua gestual portuguesa: passado, presente e futuro
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2022


  • Deaf education
  • Bilingual education
  • Portuguese sign language
  • Educational policies
  • Curriculum program


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