Picture Work - Part 8

Part 8

Power in word-painting--with a sense of perspective.

Unconsciousness of self.

A gift for mimicry.

Graphic description.

Sympathy with children.

Power to hold attention and keep to the main thought.

Animation, personal magnetism, originality, wit.

Conciseness, force.

Pleasant manner.

Ability to repeat a story without hesitation.

Power to put one's self into the time, circ.u.mstances, etc., of the story.

Love of story-telling.

Quiet manners.

Gestures, good voice.

Small [easy?] words.

Ability to make the children help tell the story, by making them gesture, point, express sorrow, surprise, etc., and answer questions.

A good story-teller asks intensely interesting questions at exactly the right point.

A pa.s.sage from Herbart forms a fitting close to this study:

"The intent to teach spoils children's books at once; it is forgotten that every one, the child included, selects what suits him from what he reads, and judges the writing as well as the writer after his own fashion. Show the bad to children plainly, but not as an object of desire, and they will recognize that it is bad.

Interrupt a narrative with moral precepts, and they will find you a wearisome narrator. Relate only what is good, and they will feel it monotonous, and the mere charm of variety will make the bad welcome. Remember your own feelings on seeing a purely moral play.

But give to them an interesting story, rich in incidents, relationships, characters, strictly in accordance with psychological truth, and not beyond the feelings and ideas of children; make no effort to depict the worst or the best, only let a faint, half-conscious moral tact secure that the interest of the action tends away from the bad toward the good, the just, the right; then you will see how the child's attention is fixed upon it, how it seeks to discover the truth and think over all sides of the matter, how the many-sided material calls forth a many-sided judgment, how the charm of change ends in preference for the best, so that the boy who perhaps feels himself a step or two higher in moral judgment than the hero or the author, will cling to his view with inner self-approbation, and so guard himself from a coa.r.s.eness he already feels beneath him. The story must have one more characteristic, if its effect is to be lasting and emphatic; it must carry on its face the strongest and clearest stamp of human greatness. For a boy distinguishes the common and ordinary from the praiseworthy as well as we; he even has this distinction more at heart than we have, for he does not like to feel himself small, he wishes to be a man. The whole look of a well-trained boy is directed above himself, and when eight years old his entire line of vision extends beyond all histories of children. Present to the boy therefore such men as he himself would like to be."