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(c) Raise the arms forward and upward. Lower the arms sideward and downward.
(d) Take a deep breath slowly. Breathe out slowly.
(g) Bend the body forward at the waist (head and arms held limply). Rotate the body to the left, returning to the standing position.
Each exercise can be done more than once, the teacher setting the example. No attention should be paid to exactness or extent of movements. Mere relaxation is all that is intended. The teacher should always be an example of ease and self-control. Her speech should be quiet, distinct, and deliberate. She should make calmness and clear speech contagious.
Speech aids.—By observation of his speech or by reading tests the teacher should determine whether the pupil has difficulty with certain sounds; that is, whether he stammers or stutters in pronouncing certain letters or syllables. Such pupils should be given (or should make their own) list of words and sentences containing the difficult sounds in various combinations and practice these daily for pronunciation with deliberation. Such poems as have been g ven on pages 20 to 28 and prose selections can be read or recited for deliberateness and control. If one piece can be done well, the management of the voice at other times becomes easier. The tendency to hurry should be checked, and help should be given when the child has difficulty. If he has been in too much haste, he should be asked to try again. In class work, recitations in unison cause the child to lose thought of self and, finding his defects less troublesome, he is given assurance of his powers of speech. Individual work can be introduced gradually as the child gains confidence.
But it is with self-constructed sentences that the stammerer has most trouble; and while the use of the vocal organs in already prepared exercises are of help (especially in those who are likely to make as little use of speech as possible), active speech construction must be cultivated.
At school age questions in clear deliberate utterance about things in which the child is interested can be resorted to. He may need to be cautioned (without discouraging him) to think twice before replying. The careful speech of the teacher should be of help to him. The repetition (in his own language) of stories that have been read to, or by him, is a ready means of producing voluntary and more or less independent speech construction. Pictures.
The description of what they see in a picture is a suitable exercise for children in their earlier years. In making his replies the child should be taught to form sentences. Having named objects, he should be asked to describe the objects or the actions pictured by means of complete sentences. The pictures should be large and attractive. The child's attention is drawn more or less away from himself in this performance, especially if it is called a game. If done in a speech class, there should be no competition if it disturbs speech and there should be no other cause for excitement. As already emphasized, the teacher should maintain a contagious atmosphere of ease and calm. The child should be helped over difficulties when needed and checked in impetuous, faulty utterance.
Enumerating objects.—Without the use of pictures the child can be asked: (a) To name as many animals, plants, cities, or other objects of a class which he can remember; (b) to tell what he saw on his way to school; or he can (c) relate some experience of a holiday.
Making sentences.-A series of words, especially those with a number of syllables, can be given and each pupil in turn asked to make a sentence containing one of the words.
Playing teacher.-All children like to play teacher, and it is a strong stimulus to control of speech. The pupil will be pleased to put his fellow pupils through such exercises as the teacher has used.
Topics for discussion.-Such subjects as airplanes, fishing, reading, etc., can be given for oral discussion.
The recounting of personal incidents and the preparation of accounts of current events can be used at the appropriate ages.
With high-school children who have had considerable speech training debates can be arranged.
Games. The stammering child needs to lose himself to find himself, and to this end games involving the use of language are an excellent means. They should be suitable to the age of the child and should be introduced only after such con trol is established that they will not prove too exciting. Each child should have his turn as leader, but rivalry in clear, deliberate speech should enter into the play instead of speed.
Animal, vegetable, mineral.-The child who is "it" chooses some object in or out of the room and, using a definite formula of words furnished by the teacher, says: “I am thinking of something. Can you tell me what it is?" or "I have an object in mind. Can you guess what I am thinking about?" Each child asks in turn: "Is the object (or, Is the thing you are thinking about) an animal?" etc. When the kingdom to which the thing belongs is discovered, the whereabouts of the object is next determined by questions such as “Is it in this room?" "Is it found in this country?" If it is a vegetable, such questions as “Is it good to eat?" “Did you have some to eat to-day?" etc., are in order. The answers to the questions should always be full and distinct-not “Yes” or “No," but “Yes; the object is an animal,” or “No; the object is not found in this country. questions and answers should be made deliberately and with as clear and correct speech as can be expected of the child at the time. The game should not be spoiled, however, by too much correction. When stammering occurs the child should be checked and told to repeat more carefully. This and other games should always be games. The one who finally guesses the object becomes it."
Animal, Bird, or Fish may be played in the same way.
What Shall I Take?-Under various names this game consists in “Going to the Circus," "Going to the Picnic," etc., and telling what one will take along. If the first takes pickles," the second will take pickles and something else, as “apples." The next “pickles, apples," and a third addition, etc. Each must say with clear
ness and distinctness, “I am going to a picnic, and I shall take with me some pickles.” The list should not be made too long. To introduce other sounds the formula can be changed to "I am going to the city," etc.
The Minister's Cat.--Each child in turn supplies an adjective for the cat, as "The minister's cat is an active cat." Adjectives can be confined to those beginning with one letter. The grocer's dog," the dairy man's horse," etc., can be substituted for the minister's cat.
Teakettle.-One player retires from the room while a word is chosen which has more than one meaning, as "tire.” This player s then recalled and asks each of the others in turn any question he likes. The answer must contain the chosen word but for which the word "teakettle" is substituted. The one whose answer furnishes the clue to the word is "it" for the next time. If the word chosen were “tire" and the question is “What did you have for lunch to-day?" the answer might be "It would teakettle me to tell you all I had for lunch."
In which hand?-One player stands before the class. He has a small object which he hides in one of his hands, doing this with his hands behind his back. He then swings both arms with equally closed hands back and forth from his sides, saying, "It's hidden from sight, left or right, can you tell in which hand it hides?" The guess should be given by the formula “I think it is hidden in your left (right) hand"-not simply “right" or "left." If the guess is incorrect, "it" changes or pretends to change the object from one hand to the other, again swings his hands, and pronounces his formula for the next child's guess. The one who guesses correctly becomes "it." 2
The teacher must not expect rapid progress nor even steady progress. Conse. quently she need never be discouraged, and the child should always be encouraged. There is no such thing as perfect speech. Every case is different and should be carefully studied daily. The full cooperation of the child's parents and companions must be secured as far as possible. A mere lesson once or twice a week is not sufficient; the child's speech must be more or less supervised (not in a nagging or annoying manner) daily, and, at the appropriate age, special but not burdensome exercises in reading or reciting should be carried out by the pupil out of school hours.
Private or class instruction?—The teacher of a child of school age may find it advisable to begin with private lessons, and personal attention may need to be continued for some time, but class work has its advantages provided the group is not too large. There is, or should be, mutual sympathy, helpfulness, and stimulation while confidence in speaking before others is obtained. In either case the instruction should be introduced with mental suggestion and the use of physical exercises. The children are always happy to end the hour with a game.
Complex cases.-While the stammerer usually has a normal use of tongue and lips at times, there are cases in which both letter substitution and stammering
* In "Games and Other Devices for Improving Pupil's English," United States Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1923, No. 43, the teacher will find much excellent material which will serve the double purpose of improving speech and language. The cost is 10 cents. Order from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Excellent suggestions as to methods of teaching kindergarten or preschool children will be found in “Mental Aspects of Stammering." by C. S. Bluemel. The Williams & Wilkins Co., Baltimore, Md.
will need to be treated at the same time, the emphasis being placed on the latter. Every stammerer (and for that matter the pupil without definite speech defect) is none the worse for the general efforts at better pronunciation and enunciation.
The teacher should secure the cooperation of her classes in helping the stammerer. An appeal (in the pupil's absence) for sympathetic consideration of one who is as much handicapped as if partially blind or deaf, or crippled in limb, should prevent or stop the mirth or ridicule to which the stammerer is so frequently subject. At any rate, any behavior of pupils which adds to the selfconsciousness of the stammerer should not be tolerated.
There are all degrees of stammering. It may be well, in the beginning of treatment, to excuse the stammerer from recitations other than the answering of questions which require only a "yes" or "no" or other reply which he can readily make. Having established a sympathetic atmosphere in the class, and having, by special instruction, given the pupil some confidence, he should be gradually given more opportunity to take part in regular lessons. He should be checked in too hasty utterance and assisted, as far as need be, over difficulties of utterance.
Because of his difficulty in oral expression the stammerer must not be looked upon as dull and he should be given ample credit for other evidence of good work. Incidentally it is well to make both the stammerer and his fellows conscious of anything in which the stammerer is superior. This makes for confidence on the part of the stammerer and respect by the pupils.
For Parents (Where They Are Also, of Necessity, the Teachers) No matter how it begins or what its cause, the stammering child does not stammer intentionally. It is the last thing he wishes to do and the worst thing that can be done is to scold him or make fun of him. It does no good and it does do harm. The child can not do differently under the circumstances, and the circumstances must be changed if he is to change. The stammering child is said to be nervous. He usually is, but it is from being misunderstood, harshly corrected, or laughed at. His life at best is not a happy one. Kindness without coddling, sympathy, unlimited patience, constant encouragement, and wise helpfulness are needed. There must be established a calm and happy atmosphere in the home. Without the stammerer's knowledge it should be explained to other children in the family and to other of the child's associates that the stammerer can no more overcome his defects at once than one can stop the mumps or measles, but that if they will overlook his infirmity he will be helped in overcoming it.
The stammerer needs (as is explained on pp. 12 and 17) to be furnished every condition that will improve his physical health.
The special treatment of the beginning stammerer has been mentioned elsewhere (p. 4). If a child begins to stammer following an illness or a severe shock, he should be kept from talking as much as possible until physical recovery is complete.
On the more positive side the parents should help the child who begins to stammer by furnishing an appropriate word, or by gently checking him and asking him to repeat the sentence more deliberately. They can often help him
by repeating the sentence with him and then have him repeat it alone. The parents should cultivate and discipline their own speech until it is calm and clear. It will be worth the effort to all concerned.
The parent should see that the child of school age, under special speech instruction, is helped in carrying out the wishes of the teacher by the careful use of assigned exercises of speech out of school hours. He should be given every opportunity for play and for losing himself in books, music, or other absorbing activities which he finds to his liking. He should be encouraged to play with others in out-of-door sports, but he should never be driven in this direction. The child, already nervously worn, is not helped by exciting or exhausting exercise. Stammering has been observed by teachers of speech correction to be noticeably worse on Monday in children who have had a week-end of parties, late hours, and miscellaneous feeding.
The Stammerer Himself The stammerer who would improve his speech must be something more than a passive participant in the process. The will to make the most of the training he receives will carry him a long way. Courage, patience, and persistence, and a sportsmanlike attitude toward the difficulties he must overcome will do the rest. The difficulty is not with the speech organs themselves but in gaining control of them (and therefore self-control) at all times.
Speech in all of us is tell-tale of general physical condition. Even those who talk well, speak with less force and distinctness when they are ill or fatigued. The opera singer who would keep his reputation must look after his food and his hours of rest and not be extravagant in his daily nervous expenditures in physical activity. The person in earnest for better speech will (a) take plenty of sleep or at least rest (10 hours will hardly be too much); (b) be up in time to eat leisurely a good breakfast; (c) be regular at his other meals and will include fruit, vegetables, and milk (in whatever form he likes), eggs and meat (once a day); (d) take no coffee or tea; (e) be out of doors for two or more hours a day in suitable weather and engaged in activities in which he is especially interested but which are not exhausting. Indoors there are, besides school studies, music, reading, and other mind absorbing interests.
The pupil will cooperate with the work of the teacher, will carry out any speech exercises faithfully and endeavor to follow carefully the suggestions of the instructor regarding his speech. The speech teacher is only a help. Like the music student, the pupil must do the actual work of acquiring musical speech at other times as well as during the lesson. After all, there are few people who could not greatly improve their speech if they only tried.
The stammerer need not expect to secure perfect speech in a year. His progress from day to day may seem slow, but small improvement each week means large improvement in a year. He will, of course, have some off days. Like the traditional frog in the well, he may slide back a trifle on such days, but his later efforts should carry
him nearer the top.