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prepared and handed in for criticism in matters of clearness and logical arrangement. These should be returned with suggestions for needed improvement or revision. Students should become thoroughly familiar with the revised outline, should follow it in speaking, and should speak without notes.
To write out a speech in full often helps the student to clarify his thought and to acquire a vocabulary suited to the subject, but speeches so written out should not be memorized. The student should have practice in choosing his words when standing before others. The style of speech may not be altogether elegant or smooth, but at least it will have the virtues, - which memorized speeches rarely have, – of directness, naturalness, and spontaneity.
Occasionally, at the beginning of the recitation period, the teacher may announce some subject for general impromptu discussion. The subject should be simple, of course, and one with which all members of the class are familiar. Topics relating to student affairs or to events of current local interest afford good material for such impromptu speeches.
Subjects for impromptu talks may be assigned now and then to individual students. These topics should be written on cards or slips of paper of uniform size and placed on a desk or table in front of the class. Each member of the class, when called, may draw a slip and speak for a minute or two on the subject drawn. This is a profitable exercise and never fails to arouse interest.
In the study of oral expression it should be remembered that extemporaneous speaking and reading aloud involve the same mental processes. When reading aloud is tedious and dull, a comparison between the style of speech in direct conversation and that which obtains in the reading, will result in material improvement in the reading, provided
the difference in the two styles is recognized as being the result of difference in directness and clearness of thinking. Any advantage gained in expressing one's own thought is gained for expressing the thought of the printed page when that thought is made one's own.
Notes on Problems The problems in this Handbook should not be considered merely as illustrations of certain technical principles, but as means by which certain principles of expressive speech become evident when thought is clear and its significance is strongly felt. Accuracy of thought analysis of the problems will be apparent in the vocal analysis shown in the reading. The problems should not be treated as exercises for mere mechanical expertness.
Each set of problems should be studied not alone as illustrations of the principles of the particular chapter they stand under, but also as exercises in the principles of all chapters previously studied. Thus, the adequate rendering of problems in rhythm involves, as well, correct grouping, emphasis, and significant pitch variation.
The Meaning of Preparation All illustrations and problems are to be prepared orally. Students should understand at the outset that preparation means thorough analysis of the thought of every phrase and line and such vocal preparation of every passage as shall enable the reader to render its meaning and spirit accurately and truthfully. Every assignment involves definite problems in thought and speech, and not until these problems are understood and mastered is the lesson prepared. Cursory, slip-shod reading, reading done with the mouth open and the mind shut,” should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.
Emotional Response The most difficult problem with which the teacher of expression has to deal is how to elicit a response of imagination and emotion from the student and to get him to put life into the thought of the printed page. There is little danger that students in the classroom will overdo emotional expression. The task is to get any expression of feeling at all. The familiar direction : “ Feel what you say” is simple and valid; but to secure clear thought and a just ratio between thought and emotional expression, a controlled, ready, and full response of feeling, without apathy on the one hand or exaggeration on the other, is no inconsiderable part of the teacher's work. A good deal depends on the enthusiasm of the teacher.
Knowledge of Principles Knowledge of the principles of expressive speech, and skill in detecting the cause of faults, mannerisms, and ineffective speech, are absolutely essential for the teacher of expression. In reading aloud one often feels the inadequacy of the expression and the insufficiency of vocal powers to render all that the passage means. Every teacher has heard the explanation and apology: “I know what the line means; I feel it, but I can't say it right.” But why not? There must be some reason for the difficulty. Is the meaning clear? Do you know what it means ? Do you really appreciate it and feel its truth, beauty and power? Is your desire to speak the thought to others strong ? Have you confidence in your ability to speak ? Are you willing to speak it as well as you can? Or, is the voice unresponsive, weak, unable to meet the requirements of the passage? These, and numerous other questions, rise in the teacher's mind with every unsuccessful or not wholly satisfactory
effort of a pupil to express the meaning of a passage. And the development and progress of the pupil depends upon the skill with which the teacher solves the problems, discovers the difficulty, and suggests the remedy. Sometimes the discovery of the obstacle or fault is sufficient, but more often difficulties are overcome only after diligent work and long-continued practice. A knowledge of the significance of the expressive modulations of the voice is invaluable to the teacher in helping the student to overcome his faults, and to develop his expressive powers to their best capacity.
The Use of Selections “ For General Reading” The longer selections “ For General Reading” found at the end of each chapter are to be read not primarily as illustrations of particular principles but for whatever message or interest they may have for the student. They should be read for themselves and with little criticism or comment on any technical matters involved. The thoughtful, spontaneous, and appreciative reading of these selections will afford opportunity for the teacher to observe what progress has been made in natural, expressive reading aloud.
The Use of Class Time A class in oral expression should be one in which the students do most of the talking. The skillful teacher will avoid extended, time-consuming explanations and remarks. By occasional questions, and brief, pointed suggestions and criticisms, the members of the class may be kept alert and be made aware of the purposes for which they read or speak, without serious encroachment on the time of the recitation period. Four fifths of the time of the class hour should be available for actual oral work of the students themselves.
Criticism Criticisms should rarely be made while the student is reciting. It is usually better to reserve comments until he has finished his recitation. After suggestions have been offered the recitation may be repeated at once, or the student may be given time to ponder over the criticism until his turn comes to recite again. Occasionally it may be best to interrupt a student during his reading or speech to offer some needed suggestion, but when it is evident that such interruption confuses or irritates him, the criticisms had better be left until he has finished his immediate task. The sympathetic teacher will not err in this respect.
Criticisms should be frank, fair, temperate, and kindly. The critic should endeavor to view the student's problem from the student's standpoint. Sarcasm and severe denunciation seldom avail much,