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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Classroom Strategies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1044.  Thursday, 16 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Hilary Zunin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 17:51:00 -0700
        Subj:   Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Paul Smith <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 18:05:40 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1039  Re: Classroom Strategies

[3]     From:   Peggy O'Brien <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 21:52:09 -0500
        Subj:   Classroom strategies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hilary Zunin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 17:51:00 -0700
Subject:        Classroom Strategies

"Let us not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments!"

Surely we're not dividing along pedogogical lines that suggest reading
the play texts VERSUS watching productions VERSUS having students own
the works through their own perfomance efforts.  For a terrific
perspective on the relative merits of "Shakespeare in the Study;
Shakespeare on the Stage", I draw your attention to the article of that
name by Jonas Barish (Professor Emeritus - UC Berkeley) *Theatre
Journal* (1988) 40:33-47.

Suffice it to say that when students are asked, as part of their final,
to argue the merits of studying the scripts versus seeing/performing
them, they'll readily create lists of specific pros and cons for each
strategy, but typically come to see both processes as essential.  These
are students from remedial to honors classes, aged 14-18 years.  If we
provide the right tools, they are capable of so much understanding!

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Smith <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 18:05:40 -0700
Subject: 8.1039  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1039  Re: Classroom Strategies

Reading the plays has one major advantage, for me, over seeing them.
When you read, you can be much more active in the language, breaking the
poetry apart, studying the meanings of difficult words, analyzing
metaphors, etc.  When seeing a play, you cannot be as active with the
production simply because you cannot halt the play whenever you feel
like it to examine what is being said.

Seeing a play is a tremendous experience which should be encouraged.
But it is an experience which simply cannot replace the reward of
sitting down for several hours with the language of Shakespeare.

And one more note in favor of reading a play first.  For me a very
rewarding manner of studying Shakespeare is to imagine myself the
director of the play and figure out from the language which is the most
appropriate and effective way to stage each scene.  Again, seeing the
play first jams one director's intepretations down your throat, often
times permanently removing the chance to figure the language out for
oneself.

If I were teaching a high school class, which I will be next year, I
believe I would spend some time having small groups decide on ways to
enact particular scenes and then have them act them out themselves in
front of the class.  Showing a production, to me, seems like it would be
much less effective (although admittedly much easier).

Paul E. Smith
San Diego State University

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[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peggy O'Brien <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 21:52:09 -0500
Subject:        Classroom strategies

How wonderful to join this conference at last and find myself in the
midst of a discussion on teaching.  Eureka!  What I find really
interesting is the distinction that some folks make between reading the
play and enacting the play.  Getting into a play through performance IS
reading-it is absolute close reading and textual analysis, though done
vertically, and within the context of physical action. It's ALL about
language.  (That Skip Nicholson is a genius.) Could we extend the
discussion on teaching to include learning?  As best we can tell, what's
happening inside students' minds and hearts as we teach them using these
various methods under discussion?
 

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