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Emotional Response The most difficult problem with which the teacher of expression has to deal is how to elicit a response of imagipation 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 inade quacy 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 re. citing. 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.
II. SUGGESTIONS REGARDING CHAPTERS
Grouping Of the various expressive modulations of the voice found in conversation, change of pitch seems to be the most difficult to secure in reading aloud. Whenever reading is a mechanical rather than a thoughtful exercise, this will be the case. The student whose reading is without variety may be aided to clear thought and natural speech by closing the book and telling in his own words the gist of what he has just read. It is likely that the monotonous reader will be unable to make a very clear statement at first. Let him read the passage as many times as necessary to get its thought, and converse about it until the style of his reading approximates that of his conversation.
The teacher should make it clear to the student that the illustrations used in this chapter, marked or spaced to represent to the eye something of the pitch variation of the voice when it acts under the stimulus of thought, are not meant to be practiced as mechanical exercises in voice manipulation. Little good will come from an effort to make the voice follow the inflections and leaps indicated unless the idea to be expressed is held in the mind when the words are spoken. The illustrations have been given in the hope that they may help to make clear the truth that
thinking controls the action of the voice and that the voice, in turn, is an important factor in determining the meaning which the listener gains from the words he hears.
Questions so put as to make answers possible in the words of a sentence under consideration, are often helpful in bringing out the sense of the text. In the case of the line from Julius Cæsar (quoted on p. 61) some such questions as these may be asked: Who speaks the words? Is he one whose command the citizens would be likely to respect? What is the first thing he orders them to do? Go “ hence !” Where does he tell them to go ? “Home.” What does he call the citizens? “Idle creatures." Not men or citizens, but “creatures !” What command does he repeat ? “Get you home.” Now let the student read the line as it stands. If the reading is still monotonous and mechanical, repeat the questions, and such others as suggest themselves, until the reading gives evidence that the situation and the sense of the line are understood. The question method will be found helpful in many instances when thinking is lax or the meaning of lines is not grasped. In dealing with the immature pupil especially, much depends upon the patience, sympathy, and tact of the teacher in so presenting the questions as to arouse his interest. He should not be made to feel that he is being quizzed and questioned in order to betray his ignorance, but rather that the questions are being asked of the text and that the text has the answer ready in its own words, which are there for him to use.
Emphasis The sentence quoted from Hamlet (p. 88) may be brought close to conversation in style of utterance when