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A textbook on the art of expression, to be useful to Normal or Academy students, must be simple and practical. Their need is not to absorb an ambitious system, but to lcarn how to grasp a writer's full meaning and then to express it to the audience exactly, vividly, and forcibly, in a manner natural and easy to themselves, and pleasing to the listeners.
In selecting a textbook the teacher must usually choose either a book of selections which outlines no course, and suggests no method, or a book that sets forth a “system” which one can scarcely use unless he has studied under the personal direction of its author.
The writer believes that a textbook on Public Speaking ought to be as usable as a textbook on Arithmetic. The subject-matter should be so arranged that the student can be assigned definite work, and know how he is to study each lesson. This book attempts to supply that need, and is intended to be intelligible and suggestive to teachers that are not professional elocutionists.
For more advanced study the student is referred to "Principles of Vocal Expression" by Chamberlain and Clark. I should count it great success to do for the pupil in Normal School and Academy what my friend and teacher, Dr. Chamberlain, has done for the College Student.
LET US BE FRIENDS
One of the first problems confronting the teacher of Reading and Speaking is how to secure in the student a sense of freedom, enthusiasm and enjoyment while speaking. “Enjoyment!” exclaims some one, “why, it nearly scares me to death.” That is due to the well-meant blund– ers of parents or teachers in your earlier years. As a child, perhaps, your reciting a piece was shown off to admiring friends. Then possibly you had a teacher that told you to learn a selection and recite it for next lesson; and when you recited it as best you could without any suggestions or help, the teacher began to point out faults, sometimes even making fun of them. No wonder that declamation is not a favorite study.
But the teacher and student together can cure this painful self-consciousness. I will make three suggestions:
1. Never speak before an audience, talk to them,-just as you would if there was only one person present. D0 not think of the audience as a mass, but think of this and that person, sitting here and there, who have come to hear what you have to say to them. They did not come to criticize and censure; you may always feel sure of their friendliness and appreciation.
2. You are speaking to these friendly people, not because you have superior wisdom, but because you have found something that interests you, and you think it will interest them also. If you treat them thus as neighbors and friends, you will not need to flatter them nor to fear them. So, forget yourself, and what folk may think of your appearance; and fix your mind on the interesting subject that has been a pleasure to you, and let yourself enjoy telling them what will no doubt be pleasing to them also.
3. The student cannot give even the most interesting Selection enthusiastically if he must keep his eyes glued to the printed page. “Therefore,” say some teachers, “he must memorize the selection.” But memorizing, besides taking too much time, also hinders freedom, for he then keeps his mind, if not his eyes, glued to the words; and instead of giving himself fully to his hearers, his attention