Thursday, 5 December 2013

Teach Shakespeare, properly!! ;-)

I wonder ...would you appreciate a piece of music if someone were to place some sheet music
in front of you and tell you to read it and then imagine the tune?

It sounds crazy, doesn't it?

But for many years, in a similar way, that's exactly what we have been doing in our schools when it comes to teaching Shakespeare. No kidding!

We put his famous plays ( well two or three of them , as hardly any school explores anything beyond
Romeo and Juliet , Macbeth or A Midsummer Night's Dream!) in front of our children and we get them to annotate until they are beside themselves with boredom.

Occasionally, we might give them a smattering of a film...sometimes it's  a modern version which
bears no resemblance to the original play. Occasionally, a teacher might just show both an older version and a modern one. Rarely, there might just be a theatre production of the said play at a theatre
in the area...but that's rarely!

Shakespeare was written to be watched. Simple as that. It was the entertainment for the people at that time.  Shakespeare's plays certainly were not written to be picked to pieces...but sadly, that's what's been going on for far too long.

And it's not just Shakespeare! I am horrified that, in GCSE English Lit, we teach certain plays in the very same way. Last year I was helping someone with 'An Inspector Calls' and I noticed that there was a theatre production not too far away, The year before that,I was studying Blood Brothers with a pupil and I noticed that it was being performed at a theatre close by to where I live. Neither school
chose to use these resources.Ok, so money would be the main factor but surely there is a case for trying to negotiate a deal...maybe a matinee performance for all pupils who are studying the plays?
It just doesn't make sense to me that plays have to be studied but cannot be watched. Utter madness!
I am convinced that making use of such a resource would raise these pupils' grades, significantly.

And so I was very heartened when I noticed the article ,below, which is all about the introduction of  Shakespeare workshops . I hope that this idea catches on throughout the country. I really do.

In my opinion,you shouldn't have something on the curriculum if it can't be taught properly.
Let's properly teach Shakespeare, for once and for all!

In the words of the great bard himself:

'Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.'

Contrasted with the tedium and monotony of annotating this great writer's words, I reckon this quote is very apt.

Long live Shakespeare!

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