By Gertrude Edmund, Lowell, Mass.
to put yourself in his place, sympathetically, scientifically,
habitually, is the simplest, hardest, and most important lesson the
professional school has to teach, or an intending teacher to learn, and I
know of no better means to this end than the training in dramatic art,
and the study of childhood and youth."
The best discipline is that which produces the natural development
of the ideal within the nature of the child. Such development depends
primarily on the personality of the teacher, and the influence she
exerts thru the power of suggestion. Natural aptitude to control and
govern; personal magnetism to rivet with links of steel; the power to
express the beautiful impulses and noble emotions of a strong, steadfast
character — these are fundamental factors. Pedagogy has been defined as
the power of translating yourself into your pupil's exact environment,
so that you may be able to think with his mind, to experience the
thousand and one embarrassments under which his struggling brain labors
and to view your own intuitional approaches to him thru his eyes. But to
put yourself in his place, sympathetically, scientifically, habitually,
is the simplest, hardest, and most important lesson the professional
school has to teach, or an intending teacher to learn, and I know of no
better means to this end than the training in dramatic art, and the
study of childhood and youth.
Our best schools of acting claim
that personal magnetism is developed thru practice in reading and
reciting such literary productions as require strong emotions for their
portrayal. Dramatic art teaches pupils to become keen students of life,
and their imaginations are trained to be in sympathy with the joy and
pathos, heights and depths of that humanity they are to interpret.
Pupils are trained, not only to observe the slightest detail of
expression, but to reproduce such expression thru voice, face, and
gesture. 0, the power of the human voice! The living agent of the soul,
the agent of the imagination and feeling, as well as of thought. To the
student of vocal expression every note in nature is alive with
suggestions. In every wind that blows, in every thunder peal that rolls,
in every laughing, dancing brook, in every storm-tossed wave, there are
instructive lessons. But of far more value than the voice, in the
discipline of the school, is the power of facial expression. It is with
the countenance we supplicate, we threaten, we soothe, we rouse, we
rejoice, we mourn, we triumph, we express submission. Thru the eyes are
expressed, with the utmost power, joy, grief, anger, love, hatred,
affection, pity, contempt, — all the passions — all the emotions of the
The time is coming when every professional school for the
training of teachers, will follow in the footsteps of Col. Parker, and
organize a department of dramatic art; when the systematic study of
children will constitute a regular part of the normal course of study;
when the child's physical and moral well-being will be considered of as
much importance as his intellectual progress in passing from grade to
grade, and each temperament will be dealt with according to its nature;
when the practice departments of our professional schools will be so
organized that the teacher will have her own pupils in her own room to
manage in her own way without unnecessary interference.
you take away the opportunity for testing the teacher's ability to
govern a school, she can get no growth in this direction and you have
failed to train the teacher in that which is most essential to her
success and usefulness, and without knowing it you may turn out upon the
public an incompetent teacher.
•Abstract of Address before the N. E. A.