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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: December ::
Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 886.  Friday, 3 December 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Alicia Rasley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Dec 1993 12:03:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   Terence Martin <STSMART@UMSLVMA>
        Date:   Thursday, 02 Dec 93 12:23:54 CST
        Subj:   Student Reading Problems
 
(3)     From:   Al Cacicedo <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Dec 1993 23:50:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
(4)     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Friday, December 3, 1993
        Subj:   Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alicia Rasley <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Dec 1993 12:03:49 -0500
Subject: 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
Paul--
 
Thanks for the tips on teaching Shakespeare.  I'm doing one play-- haven't
decided which-- in my lit survey class next semester and was rather
dreading it.  Your suggestions, especially about reading it aloud in class,
will help.  I've taught THE TEMPEST several times, but that's neat and
short and controllable.... HAMLET is the play in our reader, believe it or
not, so I'll probably have to go with that.
 
I'd rather do a really unfamiliar play than one students think they know all
about (they saw the trailers of the Mel Gibson film, after all).
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Martin <STSMART@UMSLVMA>
Date:           Thursday, 02 Dec 93 12:23:54 CST
Subject:        Student Reading Problems
 
In answer to the problem of students being unable to read Shakespeare, I can
explain (with some apprehension!) a method I have tried on an experimental
basis with some success.  I warn ahead of time that it has been viewed with
scorn by those who dislike the trend to computers, electronic text, etc.  The
method also is relevant only to blank verse and poetry in general.
 
Many years ago, I concluded that the major problem for many students was really
the format of the reading, not the words themselves.  Each line of blank verse
begins with a capital letter which the brain commonly expects to indicate the
beginning of a sentence and/or proper noun.  To comprehend the general meaning
at least, the reader needs to gather the material into sentences.  An
additional problem is what I call the intimidation factor caused by so many
footnotes and explanations accompanying most textbook editions.
 
My solution was with a word processor to present the text in normal prose
sentence format, capitalizing only the first words of sentences and proper
nouns.  Some, though very little, tinkering with punctuation was also done to
bring it too more in line with styles the students commonly encounter in
general reading.  No footnotes or explanations were printed on this version.
The traditional text in standard poetic format and with footnotes and
explanations was then paralleled to the prose formatted version. No changes at
all were made to the vocabulary or spelling.
 
Students were quite enthusiastic; however, a couple of publishers
representatives told me they could never sell the idea to college professors to
whom the traditional text format was sacred.  That the suggestion smacked too
much of high school was another comment.
 
Regardless, William Godshalk's reading quiz can be duplicated with similar
results at most colleges and universities across the United States so the
problem could certainly use some attention.
 
Terence Martin
UM - St. Louis
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Cacicedo <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Dec 1993 23:50:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0881  Re: Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
Since students have been using the conference to ask questions about
assignments, thus by-passing the work that was asked of them, I guess, and
since Kevin Berland has given a positively brilliant reading of the first line
of *TN*, expect some version of that reading in your next assignment.
 
Think of that as you're reading your next paper!
 
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Friday, December 3, 1993
Subject:        Teaching and Reading Shakespeare
 
For their first time reading a play, I encourage my students to listen
to audiotapes as they read.  Having them hearing and reading at the same
time seems to help in overcoming their fear of the language.
 

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