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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Classroom Strategies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1003.  Sunday, 5 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Roger Schmeeckle <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Oct 1997 11:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0992  Re: Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Eric Salehi <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Oct 1997 19:34:21 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Sourcebook for Teaching Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Schmeeckle <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Oct 1997 11:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 8.0992  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0992  Re: Classroom Strategies

With regard to some of the strategies suggested on this thread, such as
having the students insult each other and pandering to their sexual
urges, such strategies seem to me irresponsible and morally
indefensible.

I am a retired English teacher.  For more than ten years I taught
seniors in a not very good public high school in Vermont.  I regularly
taught two or three courses in British Literature to college preparatory
students and two or three so-called "general courses."  The following
remarks represent my conclusions with regard to the problem of
presenting Shakespeare as great literature (I realize that he was a
dramatist and that many teachers emphasize that aspect, but I knew my
limitations) and leaving the students with a positive attitude towards
his plays.

I began by showing a version of The Taming of the Shrew, produced back
in the 60's or 70's, on video, by a group in San Francisco.  Someone may
be able to identify this, as I have forgotten the details.  It was
treated, not inappropriately in my opinion, as a farce.  It had the
great value of being so thoroughly enjoyable that the students
immediately learned from enjoyable experience that Shakespeare could be
fun.  I spent a week showing this in class.

The second week we did Macbeth.  I played records, scene by scene,
stopping after every scene to point out things, to ask questions, to
stimulate discussion.

With my college preps, I went on to King Lear, after having concluded
that Hamlet was too difficult.  That may reflect my own feeling about
the two plays, because it seems to me that I understand King Lear,
whereas Hamlet was much more of a problem for me.  In other words, given
an option, it seems best to follow your own enthusiasm.

I introduced KL by emphasizing the inter-generational theme.  Ask kids
whether parents are ever unjust, and how one should respond to an unjust
parent, and their interest is aroused.

     Roger Schmeeckle

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric Salehi <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Oct 1997 19:34:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Sourcebook for Teaching Shakespeare

Jodi Clark asks, <<Does anyone have some curriculum materials they would
be
willing to share?>>

Take a look at the Shakespeare Set Free series (Ed. Peggy O'Brien,
Washington Square Press, 1995).  The series, published by the Folger's
Teaching Shakespeare Institute, provides useful source material for
discussing the plays in terms of text and performance.

-- Eric Salehi
 

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