« IndietroContinua »
little effect upon speaking. In fact, it is rarely considered applicable to the development of the orator. But, says some one, how can speaking be used in education? Is not speaking a very dignified art? Should not students wait until they are masters of Vocal Expression before they try to speak ?
Speaking should be used among the very first steps in education. Children should be encouraged to tell the arguments of the stories they read. They should also be encouraged to discuss things they have seen and heard. There is danger of having them talk too much, however. Caution is necessary ; they must be taught to penetrate to the essentials, and to use few words.
There are many exercises adapted to class use. Students may be timed, and given three or five minutes to tell some folk-lore story, or they may be led to give an argument of some poem or drama that they may be reading. This exercise can be adapted to the youngest and to the most advanced student. A beginning may be made with one of the tales of the “ Wayside Inn” or “ Evangeline,” or a subject may be assigned as difficult as the argument of a Greek play.
Another very important exercise is discussion. A student should be allowed to select a topic in which he is interested. This may be the simplest event about the school or college, or it may be some great national or international issue. The students should be timed to speak from three to five minutes ; the timing is very important, as they must be trained to penetrate to fundamentals and to give these in few words. Good speaking must be more concise than essay writing or story-telling.
There are many advantages of such a method ; students are led to speak upon these points in which they are thinking and interested; they are inspired to keep posted upon current events. Such work tends to make them simple and direct in their delivery. Besides, it reveals to the teacher the needs of students.
Still another exercise is debate. The course in debate at Harvard, which was begun several years ago by Professor Taussig, is to-day
influence. Debate should not only be practised in societies; it also gives to teachers a most effective means of training. It develops especially the logical instinct; develops insight; disciplines men to think clearly and upon the feet, and to put thought definitely and concisely into words.
The teacher who wishes to develop the student's power will use all of these methods. Even acting is very important, especially for clergymen and lawyers who tend to look upon truth as merely abstract, or who tend to have only one point of view. It develops insight into the human heart; it secures flexibility in emotion and voice, and develops dramatic instinct, without which there can be no power in expression of any kind.
Again, recitation, speaking of all kinds, and reading aloud, should be exercised upon all forms of literature. One needs a lyric, another needs an epic; one needs essays, while another needs the drama; one needs comedy to develop flexibility, and another needs pathos ; one needs Gray, another needs Carlyle. Thus the recitation of literature may be made a means of discipline for the mind as well as for delivery. It may also be a means of correcting mental defects, of developing the imagination, of securing the true realization of the nature of poetry.
If elocution could be given its true place in relation to all the arts, in relation to all literature and education, it could be made the means of developing real taste for art. In this case even a painter or a inusician would receive benefit from a study of it, because he could be made to realize from the very first the true nature of expression. The majority of students in drawing or^music work too mechanically, and only after long and laborious study and many years of failure do they come to realize the true nature of expression. They may realize the nature of execution, may have command of the hand, and be able to draw or perform well, but fail to realize the nature of expression. Work in any art school should give students a sense of the true nature of expression, as well as a form of execution.
DR. EDWARD EVERETT HALE ON EXTEMPO
DR. EDWARD EVERETT HALE has given, at my
U request, two most important lessons on Extemporaneous Speaking. At the second he had an audience of five hundred Harvard students. He is not only an acknowledged master of this form of speaking, but he has had the very widest observation of the methods of different men, and has given the whole subject great thought. It would be a great help to the world if Dr. Hale would put his ideas upon this subject into book form. In the absence of this, I venture to give from memory some of the points he made in his lesson to Harvard students.
He began by saying that in early life he received valuable advice on two points from a friend: first, “ Speak whenever any one is fool enough to ask you ; ” and, second, “Remember no one can make a speaker until he is willing to make a fool of himself for the sake of his subject.”
In enlarging upon these points he gave the following suggestions :
1. “Think over what you have to say, and put your thoughts into words, either in writing or in speaking aloud to an imaginary person.
2. “Say nothing about yourself, least of all in the introduction. 3. “Arrange your points in order. 4. “ Stick to the order you have laid down.
5. “Divide your time among your points according to their importance.
6. “ Keep exactly to the amount of time you have previously arranged for each point.
7. “Stop when you are through.”
In expanding and illustrating these points he advised the speaker, after being invited to speak on a certain subject, to sit down and write a letter to a friend and to say, “I am to speak on a certain subject, and I intend to make these points ;” then let him enumerate the points in words. If the student finds he has nothing to say in his letter, he had better write to the committee who invited him, and say that the possible death of his grandmother will probably prevent his being present on the occasion.
He also advised a student to speak what he had to say to a chair or stump, or to some person, real or imaginary, in order to get a complete grasp by the mind of what is to be said.
The first great temptation of the speaker is to begin with himself and to talk about himself; another great temptation is to dwell upon the point which is most difficult to him, and not upon that which is most important. He is tempted also to dwell upon something in which he is personally interested, and not upon that which is of greatest importance to his theme. Hence the speaker must in a calm moment choose what he has to say, the order of his points, and the time he intends to take to say it. His own personal interest and enjoyment must be sacrificed to his subject.
If you ask separately half a dozen speakers who have spoken upon the same platform of an evening, which made the shortest speech, each one will think that he did. This is because we enjoy hearing ourselves talk so much that we are poor judges of how time passes. The speaker must get a sense of the time he is occupying. The temptation to speak too long is universal.
The speaker is also tempted to change the order of his points; but this is a temptation that will lead him entirely astray. He must stick to his order, and stick exactly to the amount of time he has appointed in his cool moments for the discussion of each point. The. true artist must foresee the result he is to accomplish; and the growth of the speaker will be measured by his power to prepare a plan and then definitely carry out his intention.
After a speaker has spoken, he must sit down and compare calmly what he has done with what he intended to do, and measure his success in proportion as he has carried out definitely his intention.
V E R reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
V Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind';
“ Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht ? ” ss Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht? Den Erlenkönig mit Kron' und Schweif?” “ Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.”
“Du liebes Kind, komm, geh' mit mir!
“Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht, Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht?” “Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind ! In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.”
“Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir geh'n?
“ Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort Erlkönig's Töchter am düstern Ort ?" “ Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh' es genau ; Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.”
“ Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt; Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch' ich Gewalt.” “ Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fasst er mich an ; Erlkönig hat mir ein Leid's gethan.”
Dem Vater grauset 's, er reitet geschwind;