Sunday, 3 November 2013

Engchat Discussion: Questions about Shakespeare

Tomorrow it is my turn to lead a discussion on the teaching of Shakespeare. Today, I have been tweeting links to different sites for resources, but before we discuss the topic I thought I would share some questions that might be included tomorrow. Feel free to add more in the comments below. Some of these might incite people to respond, but please save that for tomorrow. I am playing devil's advocate with some of these questions, so don't read them as being my personal opinion.   

We will not be able to cover every question, but, hopefully, this might raise a few more questions. If not, it is a bit of homework to prepare for tomorrow.

Join us tomorrow on the #engchat hash tag at 8.30pm tomorrow.



General Philosophy Questions
  1. Do we teach too much Shakespeare? Do we destroy students' interest through constant reference to it?
  2. Do we teach too little Shakespeare? Are a few scene enough to teach a play?
  3. Why is Shakespeare selected over other major writers? Dickens? Austen?
  4. Is there an optimum age for teaching Shakespeare?
  5. Can you really teach Shakespeare effectively in a classroom environment?
  6. Why should we teach Shakespeare when a student struggles to read Standard English?
  7. Should every student study a play by William Shakespeare?
  8. Do we teach Shakespeare correctly these days?
  9. Has the teaching of Shakespeare improved or decreased over the years?
  10. Students do not have the linguistic ability, or the contextual understanding, to decode and  
  11. Do we spoon feed students too much where Shakespeare is concerned?
  12. Do we prepare students enough for analysing Shakespeare at KS5?
  13. Are we too narrow with the texts we select?
  14. Does teaching Shakespeare at primary school have benefits?
  15. Does the learning about the language really matter when students know the story?
  16. Did the KS3 SATs' paper help students with their analysis of texts?
  17. Should we really teach Romeo and Juliet when is covers some very adult content and issues?
  18. Should Shakespeare be just for the academic students?
  19. Does Shakespeare take up too much time? Should we work on modern texts rather than older texts?

Questions about the teaching

  1. How do cope with the length of the texts? What strategies do you employ?
  2. How do you get students hooked?
  3. How do you avoid constant translation of text?
  4. What is the one play that works time and time again?
  5. How do you get students to write about the language effectively without student repeating things you have highlighted?
  6. Which texts work better with boys? Girls? Top sets? Bottom sets? KS3? KS4? KS5?
  7. How do you teach Shakespeare as a dramatic text? Do you teach it in the same way as a modern play?
  8. How do you overcome the language barrier?
  9. How do you prevent constant annotating of the text?
  10. In what order do you teach things about a Shakespeare play? Themes. Structure. Language.
  11. How do you stretch the most able when teaching a Shakespeare play?
  12. How do you combat the film version dominating a student's understanding of a play? For example: R+J film often leads student to talk about guns.
  13. How do you teach a play creatively?
  14. What do you recommend people never do when teaching a Shakespeare play?
  15. How do you make comedies funny in the classroom?
  16. How do you spruce up the reading of the play?
  17. How can we get students confident enough to talk creatively about a play?
  18. How do you cover the large amount of allusions (classical, historical)  featured in texts? Do you explain every one?

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