Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Ah, blessed vision ! blood of God !

My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,

And star-like mingles with the stars.

What a miserable failure he makes! Why? Because he is asked to give spontaneous expression to the thoughts and feelings of another, couched in words, style and arrangement foreign to his own experience. In the case of the average person

who for the first time tries to read such language as this, the words and their arrangement, the strangeness of it all, the marked difference between the phraseology and that in daily use—all these erect a barrier which, without assistance, it seems impossible to surmount. A student looks at Tennyson's lines and says to himself, consciously or unconsciously, “I never said blessed vision,' I never said 'Blood of God,' I never said ‘my spirit beats her mortal bars,' and I never heard any one else speak them—these sensations and this phraseology are all outside of my experience!" Hence he flounders through it in a manner that would make Tennyson weep.

What then must be done? The student has told us that it all seems outside of his experience. Then, if that is so, before we can attain true naturalness we must show him that this phraseology and these sensations are not so foreign as they seem. How can this be done? Very simply. And therein is to be found the core of the true method of inpstruction. We can get the student to tell these thoughts and

feelings well only by likening them to something in his own experience. They must be likened to something that the student has himself said or done or felt, or heard, or seen. The complex must be reduced to the simple, the unknown must be translated into the known, the unfamiliar must be shown to be based on the familiar. The primary problem, then, is the recalling and the making vivid to the pupil his own experiences and showing their resemblance, in essence, to literature. The accomplishment of these ends is the main purpose of this book.

For over ten years the author has used in class and in private instruction the major portion of the drills in expression set forth in the following pages. During that time he has found nothing so effective in attaining satisfactory results in speaking and reading as these Tone Drills.

The interest with which a class seizes upon these Tone Drills, the fact that the colloquial examples come within ordinary experience, that the Drills enable even a large class to be given personal recitation and criticism at every session, that they permit of chorus drill with the retention of each pupil's individuality, that they make vivid to the pupil the objectivity of utterance, that the colloquial and the classical are placed in constant relation all these things combine to make the Tone Drills the most valuable of exercises for truth and naturalness in expression.

The value of the Tone Drills might be summarized thus:

The Tone Drills help to rid the pupil of artificiality and secure naturalness. They do so by coming vividly into the pupil's experience and by showing him that the classical in literature has its similarities and equivalents in his own sensations, and vice versa. He sees that the colloquial "what a magnificent sunset !” (See Tone Drill 1c) and the classical "what a piece of work is man!” (see Tone Drill id) have an underlying relationship of feeling.

The Tone Drills develop spontaneity. They enable a student to respond more quickly and more vividly to a given sentiment. In the phrase "O, look at those lovely roses, look at them !” (see Tone Drill 1a) the student finds the thought, the feeling and the phraseology a part of his own vivid expe

V

rience, and almost all difficulty of responsiveness vanus...us. He discovers himself expressionally.

'The Tone Drills enable the teacher to give each pupil of a class individual drill and individual criticism at every session. Many of the Drills take no longer than twenty to thirty seconds for oral expression, and yet each Drill offers a field, complete in itself, for criticism upon the expression of the feeling, and also, if desired, for criticisms of articulation, use of voice, attitude, facial expression, gesture, emphasis and pause. It is surprising how much can be driven home by a capable teacher with these half minute drills.

The Tone Drills impress upon the pupil the infinite variety in expression. By the constant transition of feeling demanded by the various Tones, the pupil sees the utter falseness of monotony, and becomes a severe critic of himself. A student cannot pass from Amazement to Anger, from Anger to Awe, from Awe to Annoyance without vividly appreciating the variety of utterance.

The Tone Drills furnish an excellent drill for the voice. In a ten to fifteen-minute practice of the Drills the voice can be given definite and valuable exercise. If vocal attack is needed, the pupils can be given drills under the feelings that demand attack such as Command, Authority, Assertion, Denial, and the like; if volume of voice is needed, the pupil may be given drills calling for emotions of breadth such as those under Sublimity, Defiance, and so on; if musical quality, drills under Solemnity, Sadness, and similar feelings; if brightness, drills under Gayety, Mirth, and the like, and so on through every phase of voice culture. (See suggestions at end of Tone Drills.)

The Tone Drills win the instant interest of the pupil. Coming vividly into his life, associated with real experience, he feels the zest of true states, and has the enjoyment of creative work. Instead of wishing the teacher would pass

[ocr errors]

him by he is eager to be called upon. There is aroused the desire to do.

The Tone Drills realize the best psychology in respect to instruction. The principles set forth by Herbert Spencer and insisted upon by William James in their respective works on psychology and education are realized in these Tone Drills. The process of reaching the complex through the simple, development by the law of comparison and inference, the law of the association of ideas and the law of habit, all are recognized in the Tone Drills.

The Tone Drills economize time by permitting chorus drills in class without ill effects. Each example, not exceeding a minute, and dealing with one phase of feeling, enables the pupil to give his own rendering, and the chorus effect is unity with variety. One pupil is more intense than another, one's solenınity differs a little from another's, because of different personality, yet each has felt the specific feeling desired and each has made his own expressional effort.

The Tone Drills reveal the expressional faults of the pupil 110t only to the teacher but to the pupil himself. Criticism, therefore, comes with the force of confirmation, and is double in its power.

The Tone Drills help to secure the true expression of feeling in both speech and literature. Practice upon the expression of the feelings as they are found in our every day life gives the student, in time, a sure grasp of emotional states, he can distinguish the false from the true, and, also, he can determine accurately the degree of feeling.

The Tone Drills help to train the imagination. They impel the student not only to recall past experiences, but to reconstruct and combine them. The student is impelled to see “the lovely roses," "the magnificent sunset," to hear “the beautiful music” with its "purity" and "sweetness.” He finds himself picturing mountains behind mountains.” Now

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

he is defying soldiers, now at a convention, now comparing costumes or constructing a street episode. In the Classical examples he is building in his mind “the cloud capped towers, the gorgeous palaces," or sympathizing with the faithful Adam in “As You Like It,” or he is on the field of battle with Richard III. Constantly there is a brief but pointed call for the exercise of the imagination, both representative and constructive.

The Tone Drills rid the pupil of self consciousness. The Drills come so vividly into his experience, bring him into states in which he has been so essentially objective that he forgets self in the desire to tell. This realizes one of the most important requisites in the pedagogics of expression.

The Tone Drills develop a love for the best literature and develop it in a natural way. Distaste frequently arises from the perception of difficulty; when a thing looks hard to attain we shun it, but when it is seen that there is comparatively little obstruction, that a slight exercise of the reason and the imagination will lead the student into the expressional joys of the great writers and poets—will make them see what they saw, feel what they felt—then there arises in the student a genuine appreciation of the best literature. The Tone Drills accomplish this desirable end by showing the student that the complex is nothing but the simple refined or combined, that underneath the strange phraseology lie experiences and ideas that much resemble his own, and experiences and ideas that give pleasure.

The Tone Drills develop an appreciation of the technique of expression. They attain this end by ridding expression of all stiffness, formality and complexity. The pupil finds the avenues of expression replete with pleasing experiences, and not, as he thought, a long lane with almost insurmountable obstacles.

The Tone Drills aid in the development of the power of

« VorigeDoorgaan »