« AnteriorContinuar »
let him put himself in the place of the one who first spoke it, which is the kind of speaking he will do after he leaves school. Declamatory effusions, like “Regulus to the Carthaginians,” or “Signing the Declaration” ought to be avoided. So should dramatic descriptions like “The Death Bed of Benedict Arnold,” “The Death of Porthos,” etc. Not many boys are likely to be called upon to perform in such fashion in actual life, and their preparation might better be along useful lines. The direct, earnest speeches of Lincoln, of Roosevelt, of Woodrow Wilson, are far better models for boys.
196. Drill. There is considerable difference of opinion among instructors about drilling students to speak. Some believe that imitative drill is all wrong; others that it is the quickest and surest way of cultivating effective speech habits. The writer believes that the imitation of a well handled voice is often most beneficial to a pupil with a quick and accurate ear. If imitation will get the thing done, why not use it? It should not be used, however, alone, nor before the pupil has done his part of preparation, as above described ; except that it is frequently helpful to have the instructor read aloud effectively the selection which the pupil is to work on—to give him a general impression of the whole selection. “Parrot drill” has little place in school work. Skillful questioning, suggesting alternative methods, opening a way for self-criticism, any plan which will set the pupil to thinking about what he says is better. Pupils
should be made to hear their own voices if possible. They should be taught to use an agreeable quality of voice; harsh or unnecessarily loud speaking should be discouraged; direct, earnest, natural, simple tones and inflections should be cultivated; that which is bombastic and exaggerated should be avoided. “Animated conversation" perhaps best expresses the ideal.
197. Committee on American speech. The following extract, from a recent statement by the Committee on American Speech appointed by the National Council of Teachers of English, contains useful suggestions.
“In developing the school work on voice and speech, the following principles should be kept in mind:
1. Discourage speaking and singing of a show' character in the schools, loud and elaborate singing, 'stunt' elocutionary performances, formal contests' in oratory and debating. But require moderate and varied speech, singing, and reading of everybody.
2. For most of the pupils the positive instruction should be gentle, gradual, almost unconscious, but continuous. In reading and talking, and singing as well, the attention should be directed to the thought and feeling of the matter to be expressed, not to the points of technique.
3. Harsh or loud tones should be discouraged, alike in pupils and in teachers. It would be a happy consummation if the practice of 'rooting,' so harmful to the voice, could be stopped, or lessened, but after all an occasional vocal ‘spree' of 'rooting' hurts the voice less than continual harshness, whining, mumbling, in daily life.
Give attention first of all to tone—that it shall be quiet, pleasant, clear—and to distinctness; then to faults of dialect and local usage, in utterance and pronunciation; then to variety of inflection, etc. Especially try to connect as much as possible the work in speech and reading with the work in singing.
198. 2. The original speech. There are two ways in which to prepare an original speech: to write it out in full and memorize it, and to plan the speech and speak from the plan without determining exactly what words to use. There are certain advantages in each way which need not be here discussed. The first mentioned is probably the easier, though for persons with accurate memories and a ready flow of words, the second
199. Material and plan. There must in either case be plenty of material, and there must be a plan. In the argument this plan is the brief, and in other forms of speaking the plan or outline may well follow the general scheme suggested for making the brief. (See pp. 162, 163.)
200. First practice. Enough is said about gathering material and making outlines in the sections on Oral Composition and Debate. We will suppose these steps to have been taken, and that the speaker has his material and his plan before him. What next? His problem is to get what he has to say into such shape as to fit his audience,
-amuse it, or inform it, or convince it, or move it. Here all the art of the writer should first be employed. What is to be said should be written
out and reduced to the most effective form. Then it should be thrown away, and written out, and thrown away again; and the process should be repeated until the whole has been fixed in mind. This done, the speaker may practice his speech orally, trying various wordings for their vocal effects, studying what to make important, and what not to. He should speak entirely without notes and be perfectly free to use his hands, to change position on the platform, to give his whole attention to his delivery and his audience.
NOTE: For a full discussion of the original speech the student is referred to Public Speaking, pp. 396-457, by J. A. Winans (Sewell Pub. Co.).
201. Definition. Composition as used in connection with English teaching means organized verbal expression of thought. Verbal expression may be written or oral. For many years most high school and college compositions have been written. Recently, however, educators have come to feel the need of oral composition to relieve the pressure of written work, and to give pupils greater speech skill.
Written composition alone has been found inadequate to give pupils facility in self-expression. Oral composition alone will not teach pupils the decencies of preparing manuscript. There is general agreement that the two methods are complementary and should be used together. Just how much practice in expression should be oral and how much written is yet open to discussion. The writer believes that at least twice as much oral work should be done as written. The limits of this book permit no extensive discussion of oral composition, but a general outline follows.
The plan recommended covers three successive composition periods. The first day's work consists of bringing into class and discussing material to be used; the second, the presentation of