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Private teacher and a pioneer in teaching

After returning to Finland, Malm started working as a private teacher for two deaf boys in the parsonage of Koivisto in February 1846. One of the boys was David Fredrik Hirn, the 12 year old son of a land surveyor from Mäntyharju, and the other was Sten Sirén, the 18 year old son of the parson of Koivisto. The boys’ parents had heard of Malm and asked him to teach their sons. The boys knew each other from before, as a fake deaf person had tried to teach them in Mäntyharju.

Hirn later related that Malm had immediately impressed him deeply and that he had realised he had found a true teacher for himself. Malm’s work as an in-home tutor continued until he founded a private school. Hirn and Sirén also continued their studies there, and they were the first pupils Malm taught the sign language he had adopted in Sweden.

In autumn 1846, Malm decided to open a private school for the deaf in Porvoo and published an advertisement in the Borgå Tidning newspaper on 16 September 1846. In the ad, Malm advised that it was his wish to provide teaching to as many people as possible, including deaf people of limited means.

The school started its operation at the beginning of October at Malm’s father’s house, in the address Kankurinkuja 5. At first, his former private students were the school’s only students. Malm believed, nonetheless, that there were plenty of deaf people in Finland who yearned for education. Therefore, he asked the Diocesan Chapter of Porvoo to find out how many deaf people there were. The result of this count in 1848 was that there were 1,466 deaf people in Finland, 602 of whom were under 20 years of age.

In other words, there was a demand for founding a school, but Malm had difficulties finding sufficient funding for his project. He received encouragement via letter from Ossian Edmund Borg, the headmaster of his former school, who was of the opinion that the state should be responsible for providing teaching to the deaf. Malm’s petitions were unsuccessful, however. It was only in 1856 that the emperor awarded a personal annual grant to Malm for his work with the school.

Malm wrote in newspapers to further his school founding project. Eventually, local people started supporting him. A school board consisting of the town’s influential people was founded in 1857, and as a result of the board’s work, the financial situation improved. Roomier premises were rented for the school, teachers could be paid a salary and the number of students increased. Between 1858-1859 there were as many as 20 students.

The pursuit for a state school for the deaf progressed slowly, however, and Malm himself started to doubt if this dream would ever come true. The board filed an application to the senate in 1858 for a state-funded school for the deaf. That same year, the senate issued a decree on founding the school in Turku. The aim of the school was to provide the deaf teaching in keeping with the general popular education.

Malm was accepted as a teacher at the school without application proceedings, but as the headmaster, they wanted someone with perfect hearing and speaking abilities, along with a clerical education if possible. This essentially ruled out Malm, which was hard for him to accept. The headmaster’s position was applied by both Malm’s brother Gustaf Emil and teacher Carl Henrik Alopaeus from the Porvoo upper primary school. The brother did not have the hoped-for clerical education and Alopaeus lacked the sign language skills. Eventually, Alopaeus was chosen for the position. Malm moved to Turku in summer 1859 and the school started its operation in January 1860.

Malm ottaa kantaa kuurojen lukumäärään Porvoon koulun oppilasmatrikkeli. Malmin tekemä selvitys Porvoon koulun menoista. Porvoon koulun johtokunnan puheenjohtaja Alexander Ferdinand Borenius. Malmin kirje A.F. Boreniukselle, jossa käsitellään koulun tiloja ja oppilaiden majoitusta. Turun koulua koskeva keisarillinen asetus 1858. Malmin kirjoitus, jossa hän käsittelee koulun rehtorin valintaa. Turun koulun johtaja Carl Henrik Alopaeus. Geometrian opetusvälinelaatikko. Albumi historian opetusta varten.

nuoli_vasen (13K)
Childhood and school years
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Teaching and students