Tommaso Pendola (Genoa, June 22, 1800 - Siena, February 12, 1883) was an Italian priest and educator, known above all for his work as an educator of the deaf.
Genoese by birth, Pendola began his ecclesiastical career at sixteen, joining the Florentine religious institute of the Poor Regular Clerics of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools, better known as Scolopi. In Florence he devoted himself to the studies of theology, philosophy, mathematics and astronomy.
Five years later (1821) Pendola moved to Siena and began teaching mathematics and philosophy at the Collegio Tolomei.
In Siena he devoted himself almost exclusively to the assistance and education of the deaf. In fact, struck by the poor education of some of them often present in the area of the College, Pendola decided to direct his studies towards Deaf Culture. He studied the writings of the Parisian abbot Roche-Amboise Sicard, met his brother Ottavio Assarotti, who assisted and educated the Deaf in Genoa.
In 1828 he founded the Royal Tuscan Institute for the deaf and dumb in Siena, which three years later became a royal Tuscan boarding school for the deaf and dumb thanks to the financial support of Leopoldo II of Tuscany.
At the Institute, deaf people who came from all over Tuscany and neighboring areas (most of them in conditions of serious economic and social hardship) were welcomed, educated and instructed free of charge. A further aim was to offer adequate professional training to the deaf, in order to guarantee entry into the world of work.
In 1844 the Institute changed its name to the Royal Tuscan Institute for the deaf and dumb (after the death of Pendola it became the Royal Institute of the Pendola for the deaf and dumb in Siena).
Starting from 1871 he adopted the oral method experimented by Abbot Serafino Balestra, and in 1873 he organized in Siena the first International Congress on the education of the deaf and dumb in Siena.
When the work was completed, the validity of the method adopted by Pendola was recognized, and this was also confirmed on the occasion of the International Congress of Milan in 1880. In the same years (1873) Pendola also founded the newspaper L'eduzione dei deadomuti. The Institute assumed relevance not only on a local level: the boarding school hosted deaf people from all over Italy in the following years.
After more than a century, the Institute founded by Pendola ceased to exist autonomously, having merged together with other institutes in the Azienda Servizi alla Persona of Siena.
Translated from Italian by Google Translate
Istituto di Tommaso Pendola, Via Tommaso Pendola in Siena