Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0740. Thursday, 10 October 1996.
Date: Thursday, 10 Oct 1996 15:01:30 -0700
Subject: 7.0726 Re: The State of the Profession
Comment: Re: SHK 7.0726 Re: The State of the Profession
Re: William Proctor Williams' comment:
>> Could it be that we (the faculty) are "not up to it"? <<
I think the most dangerous assumption an educator can make is that a student is
"not up to" a particular subject or assignment. It is no wonder that many
youth today hold a negative view of the world: we keep assuming that they are
not capable without giving them a chance to try.
One of the most demanding groups of students I have ever spoken to about
Shakespeare in performance was a middle-school class. The median age in this
group was about twelve. Their teacher had fought the school district to teach
the class in the first place, because the school administration were determined
that kids that age were incapable of understanding Shakespeare. It was
thrilling to see that the students had exceeded the expectations of everyone
The kids were facing their first real intellectual/educational challenge. They
were excited, and they were starved for information. On the spot, they created
a production of "Macbeth" with modern political figures as the major
characters. They asked good questions, and offered intelligent,
well-thought-out insights. In retrospect, I think I learned more that day
about young people than they did about Shakespeare.
If more people would be willing to give their students a chance to work hard,
and to provide them with the encouragement needed to do it, I think they'd be
quite surprised at the results.