Alexander Graham Bell was an Oral Extremist.
Mike McConnell is NOT a Oral Extremist.
AGBell’s position on Oral Education is actually the reason the plaque honoring him at NTID was removed. I wrote a Letter to the Editor and it was published in RIT’s student publication, “Reporter“, on April 14, 2000. An excerpt:
Bell strongly urged oralism — the use of speech and lip-reading — to his deaf students. The issue lies not in the method of communication he promoted, but that in he believed it was the one and only one way to teach and train deaf pupils, whatever their needs were. Had he been alive today, Bell would report that ASL, Cued Speech, PSE, SEE, etc. are ineffective and that oralism should be adopted and practiced by all Deaf people.
I went on to say that his belief didn’t fit with NTID’s communication philosophy, which accepted and encouraged the diverse communication methods and needs of the student body. The plaque was removed the summer of 2008.
I’m using Mike McConnell as an example here to contrast the philosophy difference. McConnell speaks orally because he is more comfortable with it. But he does not believe an ASL-based education is destined to fail. He believes ASL is one way to successfully educate deaf children.