A study of the development of our language results in a discovery that it is abstraction of a high order.
To use the system (words) intelligently requires that one not know the meanings of the respective symbols but that he know the relationships existing among the various combinations.
English Language. To the person trained in another tongue the English language seems to lack any logical sequence: it is not regular and leads to much confusion. If the listener does not have the experimental background, a series of words (a sentence) may sound) link a drawn-out hum when uttered in rapid fashion.
A man mumbles his lunch order to a waitress. She may not fully hear, yet never misses because those combinations have come to mean but one thing to her.
Language is a part of our social heritage and has become more and more complicated with the ages. Some systematization has taken place. We give attention to word endings to label a particular person. Such as mortgage, teacher, realtor, etc.
These forms did not just happen; they grew up very definite ways and were adopted through usage. They were accepted just as any word is labeled and becomes dignified today “Chiseler” is a word at point, put into good usage by one of our Presidents and given a very limited and definite connotation.
These familiar endings together with the prefixes and suffixes enable the student to get from new words something of value. At one time an attempt was made to analyze the words completely; that procedure gave way to the use of words as expressed though sentences or parts of sentence.
Today, largely due to the emphasis that is being given to good speech, there is gradually growing up a tendency toward the dissecting process.
Effect on Personality:
Speech is one of the forms of behaviour which plays an important role in the personality of the individual.
The teacher, at all times, should plan his procedure so as to promote the proper mental attitude in the student before calling upon him to recite. Getting the proper start in oral expression will often spell the difference between good and a poor recitation
If a student’s voice is satisfying to himself it gives him that confidence which is helpful to clear thinking and especially helpful to continue fluency. It is quite possible to talk well for a long time if there is no undue emotional disturbance, the breathing will then function normally, thereby assisting rather than fluent speech.
Form of Expression:
Language as a form of expression is essentially social and useful in communication. It results from a need that has arisen to make another to do one’s bidding. It is essential to all the mental process. If we are conscious of something which, if expressed, must be made known though some form of language.
The functioning of language and the thought processes cannot be separated. We are rhythmic in nature and the motor processes of language are likewise rhythmical. This rhythm varies among people and accounts for many of the links and dislikes of expressions made by others-either oral or written.
Emphasis on Large Units:
Psychology recognizes that words should be taught rather than letters. There is a tendency towards unit reaction. The entire body mechanism responds to stimulus, be it a word or a sentence. So long as a unit idea is present, performance is satisfying.
Hence, sentences rather than words should be taught, especially when they serve as a completed unit. An intensive study of formal grammar can be deferred perhaps to the college period. If more attention is given to the usage of units and more practice devoted to their correct form, the time may come when many of the dissecting processes can be completely discarded.
The five year old either uses good English or he does not environment. This will depend upon his immediate environment. He is concerned with expression and formulates his ideas in units. He has no need for the disturbing labels which are given to the parts of the- unit which he already so ably manipulates.
We do not reach the various parts of a machine to all automobile drivers before we train them to be expert operators. If the driver encounters difficulties on the way he can call the expert, the service man. Likewise the pupil can call the expert to guide him in expression and with this guidance he, too, can become proficient.
Appreciation and Expression:
The teacher must not only recognize that appreciation is both intellectual and emotional, but he should make possible for each pupil to have a chance to respond to appreciation-arousing situations. In this the teacher should keep in mind the differences in emotional reaction, and the differences in interest which prevail amongJUQils.
The extent of the appreciation will depend largely upon the number of emotion-arousing elements present as compared with the number of intellectual factors inherent in the situation for any particular student. Literature should be taught for appreciation and for art of expression.
Responsibility of a teacher:
The high school teacher of literature has a far reaching responsibility. In high school is determined the attitude which the student will take in his adulthood towards all the mass of books with which he will be stimulated.
If the high school student is compelled to analyze to the point of boredom the masterpieces of literature he will be driven form the good to the frothy.
The literary studied in high school should be so treated that they will become the companions of the high school student, urging him on the further delightful hours with other selections of their kind.