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Born Apr. 10, 1727, in Hautschutz, near Naumburg; died Apr. 30, 1790, in Leipzig. German educator of the deaf, one of the originators of the oral (sound) method of teaching deaf-mutes, a method that has greatly influenced the theory and practice of the education of the deaf in many countries.
Heinicke based his teaching method exclusively on the oral aspect of the spoken language, without relying on visual or written symbols. This led to a serious conflict of goals within deaf-mute pedagogy: the task of broadly developing the deaf-mute child’s abilities versus the possibility of teaching him to actually master oral speech. Heinicke’s approach was criticized by many of his contemporaries.
Heinicke founded the first German school for deaf-mutes in 1778, the Leipzig Institute (now called the Heinicke School), which he directed until his death. His writings include “Observations on the Deaf and Human Speech” (1788) and “On the Thought Patterns of the Deaf-Mute” (1780).