Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

"In just articulation, the words are not to be hurrie over, nor precipitated syllable over syllable, nor, as it were melted together into a mass of confusion; they should be neither abridged, nor prolonged, nor swallowed, nor forced, nor, if I may so express myself, shot from the mouth; they should not be trailed nor drawled, nor let to slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered from the lips, as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, sharp, in due succession, and of due weight."

AUSTIN.

The right pronunciation of the Vowels depends entirely on imitation; and this can be taught, therefore, only by the living voice of the teacher, and not by books.

All the vowels are introduced in the first stanza of Gray's Elegy; and the teacher has therefore a test ready for the examination of every pupil in the purity of his vowels.

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;

The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,-

And leaves the world to darkness,-and to me. Clear articulation, also, is a habit which can only be produced by great care on the part of the learner himself, or by incessant watchfulness on the part of the teacher. Articulation may, then, be taught in two ways:-either, by a set of carefully graduated exercises, or by the teacher's insisting on every word, whether read or spoken, being clearly and distinctly and even elaborately uttered. In fact, the teacher has — before teaching reading-to teach speaking ; and this is peculiarly and remarkably the case in England. It is of the very highest importance that the teacher's watchfulness over articu.

OF ARTICULATION.

lation and pronunciation be kept up throughout the school-day, and not merely during the reading-lesson. A very large percentage of the teacher's labour is lost, if slovenly habits of pronunciation are tolerated during the other hours of school-work, in answering questions, etc., etc. A corresponding loss of habit and power is seen also in the teaching of writing-especially in Scotland. The pupil has his writing-lesson for one hour, during which he produces an elaborately perfect copy of the line given him; but, in his exercises, and notes and other papers, he is allowed to scribble in the most irregular and careless manner. “A good articulation,” says Sheridan, “is to the ear in speaking, what a fair and regular hand is to the eye in writing."

Certain pupils, however, possess defects of articulation peculiar to themselves; and these pupils should be provided with exercises drawn up for the cure of these defects. If, however, a course of Gymnastics in Articulation be demanded, the sketch in Chapter XVI. may perhaps be found sufficient.

CHAPTER II.

OF THE MEANING.

“Children, before their utterance is denaturalized by school discipline in 'reading,' speak with the most beantifully expressive intonation, and all persons of sprightly temperament deliver themselves, in animated conversation, with little short of the expressive perfection of infantile oratory."

BELL.

BEFORE any one can read a sentence—that is, deliver it to a listener properly, he must understand its meaning. Intelligence—the fullest intelligence of what is read—is the necessary pre-condition of all good reading. This is the reason why the “elocution" of children and of the uneducated classes is always correct and appropriate; they do not talk of what they know nothing about. They have the fullest comprehension of their own wishes and feelings; and nature supplies the tones and the inflections and the emphases.

It is the task, and the difficult task, of the teacher to give his pupil as full a possession of the meaning of a printed sentence as the pupil bas of the sentences he uses in play out-of-doors. This is to be done chiefly by judicious questioning; for judicious questioning is the best half of thinking.

This questioning will necessarily have two objects in view-one to put the sense into the pupil's head, and the other to make him fully acquainted with the construction of the sentence. In the case of the first, the matter of the sentences should be questioned on; in the case of the second, its form and grammar. In questioning on the matter of the lesson to be afterwards read, it is best to question the pupils with their books open, and to allow them to answer from the book. This will probably give rise to an interesting and lively discussion, which will have a wonderful effect in rousing the intelligence

[blocks in formation]

of each pupil, and also in increasing the corporate intelligence and power of the whole class. The second step to be taken by the teacher, is to question on the matter of the lesson with the books shut. In doing this, it is a good thing to invite or to induce the pupils to use the language of the book wherever they can; but it is a still better thing to get them to "give it in their own words."

In questioning as to the form or construction of a sentence, there are two things that are chiefly to be done: first, to ascertain the meaning of all the more important words; and, secondly, to ascertain the relation of each clause to the principal clause in the sentence. And, these two things having been fully ascertained, the most important point of all remains, and that is, to ascertain what word or words are the most emphatic in the sentence-what word or words carry the greatest weight of meaning.

If the lesson to be read is a poem, it would be well if the teacher gave, before the class begins the reading, such an amount of information as would enable the class to take up the proper standpoint with reference to the poem, and to feel in proper sympathy with it.

Let us suppose that the poem to be read by the class is the story called LUCY GRAY, by Wordsworth. The best plan of procedure will probably be the following :

No mate, no comrade, Lucy knew;

She dwelt on a wide moor-
The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a cottage door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green,
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen.
“To-night will be a stormy night-

You to the town must go;
And take the lantern, child, to light

Your mother through the snow."
“That, father, will I gladly do!

'Tis scarcely afternoon-
The minster-clock has just struck two,

And yonder is the moon.
At this the father raised his book

And snapped a fagot band ;

He plied his work, and Lucy took

The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe;

With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powdery snow

That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time.

She wandered up and down,
And many a bill did Lucy climb,

But never reached the town.
The wretched parents all that night

Went shouting far and wide ;
But there was neither sound nor sight

To serve them for a guide.
At daybreak on a hill they stood

That overlooked the moor;
And thence they saw the bridge of wood,

A furlong from their door.
And, turning homeward now, they cried,

“In heaven we all shall meet!
When in the snow the mother spied

The print of Lucy's feet.
Then downward from the steep hill's edge

They tracked the footmarks small,
And through the broken hawthorn hedge,

And by the long stone wall.
And then an open field they crossed,

The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost;

And to the bridge they came.
They followed from the snowy bank

The footmarks one by one,
Into the middle of the plank ;-

And further there were none.
You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green,
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen. 1. INTRODUCTION. (To be given by the master, the books being shut.)—This is a story about a little girl, who lived in a hilly and moorland country, in the northwest of England. Her mother had gone, one winter's day, to the nearest town, to buy provisions; and her father, fearing that a storm was coming on, bade the little girl take a lantern and go to meet her mother. But the snowstorm came on before the father had expected it, and the little girl lost her way in it. The parents sought for her all night; but she had fallen into a brook swollen with snow-water.

2. QUESTIONS ON THE STORY. (The books here should be open; and the questions should be put-as far as possible--on the statements made in each case.)-1. Where did Lucy Gray live? 2. Why did her father send her to the

« AnteriorContinuar »