Alexander Graham Bell

by Isaac from San Diego

Two-hundred-three million cell phones are in use worldwide.  Out of these, one-hundred percent would not have existed without the research done by Alexander Graham Bell.  The telephone represents only one invention of his many, which pale by comparison to other significant works.  Bell's birth in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847 to Eliza Grace Symmonds and Alexander Melville Bell was the beginning of a significant mark on history.  After finishing high school and completing college at age sixteen, Bell partnered with his father's business.  In the next few years, he taught in and opened several schools for the deaf in Boston.  It was here Bell met Thomas Watson, the man who brought his ideas to life.  During his later years, Bell spent much time and money on the teaching of the deaf and blind.  Although he is mainly remembered for his intellect, Bell's impact on the teaching methods of deaf students should not be forgotten.  Because of his help to these students, intelligence, and compassion towards others, Bell deserves the title of a hero.

Bell exhibited helpfulness through his teachings with the deaf and his contributions to the science community.  When he opened his first school for the deaf, he wanted to help: "...his students speak by seeing sounds they could not hear" (Pasachoff 27).  Originally the deaf would not have been formally taught how to speak, but by utilizing Bell's Visible Speech Diagrams the deaf's ability to speak improved significantly.  This methodology helped their parents by lessening the burden of teaching their children to speak.  Later in his life Bell contributed significant time and money to the sciences: "Bell helped establish Science magazine and the National Geographic Society" (World of Invention).  This assisted the populace by making it easier to learn about advances in science. As a result, common people could educate themselves in the sciences with little effort.  Bell aided society in many ways, which was facilitated by his intellect.

Through his teachings and scientific advances, Bell's superior intelligence became evident.  After Bell graduated from college, at age sixteen, he was asked to teach: "Bell accepted [the] position at Winston House Academy in Scotland where he taught elocution and music to students, many older than he" (The Biography Channel website).  The fact he was at a teaching level at such a young age showed he was a young genius destined for greater things.  His brilliance in these fields quickly led him from teaching to conducting studies.  After studying Herman Ludwig von Helmoltz's work with complex sounds, Bell, at the age of eighteen: "...made scientific studies of the resonance of the mouth while speaking" (Encyclopedia of World Biography).  Nowadays new scientific studies are performed by people with many years in a field and are much older than Bell was when he made his study of the mouth.  From here, Bell's intellect kept growing.  Despite his elite intelligence, Bell still focused on the needs of the people around him.

Bell cared dearly for his deaf students and their learning experiences.  His first student, George, the son of Thomas Sanders, could not hear: "Unlike a hearing child, George could not hear the stress upon certain words for emphasis.  To compensate, Bell drew certain words in different sizes" (Pasachoff 28).  Bell demonstrated his compassion by taking extra steps in teaching George.  He went beyond what a standard teacher would do, placing great value on their individual needs.  Another student of his, Helen Keller, sent a letter to Bell after a speech in New York: "I [Helen Keller] did not realize how difficult it would be for you to come and help me out at the meeting, especially when you had not the time to read the speech or rehearse with me" (Keller).  Bell exhibited continued compassion for his students by assisting Helen Keller with a speech.  Most teachers would need more time to prepare than what Keller had given, but Bell went anyway for the sake of his student.  Bell's students were important, and nothing could keep him from devoting his life to them. To Bell, his students were a major focus of his life, as they required substantial care and assistance. 

What supported him was his intellect which provided the means to help his students.  Bell's intelligence paved the way to many jobs where he met students who needed his care.  Not only did he: "... [open] his own school in Boston for training teachers of the deaf" (World of Invention) he taught: " Sarah Fuller's School for the Deaf, the first school of its kind and also tutored students privately" (Encyclopedia of World Biography).  Bell inspires me because he contributed to the deaf and blind community and showed a passion for what he did and those who seemed less fortunate.  As people travel through life they often settle in a job they do not love.  Teenagers should look up from their cell phones, aspire to achieve their own dreams and not be guided by the wakes of others who passed before them.

Works Cited

"Bell, Alexander Graham (1847-1922)." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 31 Mar. 2011

"Bell, Alexander Graham" 2013. The Biography Channel Website. Mar 21 2013, 11:18

"Bell, Alexander Graham." World of Invention. Gale, 2006. Biography In Context. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

Keller, Helen. "Letter from Helen Keller to Alexander Graham Bell." Library of Congress, 29 Sept. 2000. Web. 27 Mar. 2013

Pasachoff, Naomi E. Alexander Graham Bell: Making Connections. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

Page created on 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/20/2013 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Alexander Graham Bell - A biography of Alexander Graham Bell and some of his inventions inventions
Encyclopedia Britannica - A biography of Alexander Graham Bell
Library of Congress - A summary of Bell's works

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