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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
RE: Classroom Strategies
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1055.  Monday, 20 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Karen Eblen <
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        Date:   Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 00:22:37 PDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1048 RE: Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Michael Yogev <
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        Date:   Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 12:07:30 +0200
        Subj:   Reading vs/and Watching Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Hayley Grill <
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        Date:   Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 10:41:00 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Classroom strategies

[4]     From:   Perry Herzfeld <
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        Date:   Sunday, 19 Oct 1997 15:49:31 +0000
        Subj:   Classroom Strategies - Student's point of view

[5]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Oct 1997 05:18:48 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 8.1048  RE: Classroom Strategies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Eblen <
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Date:           Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 00:22:37 PDT
Subject: 8.1048 RE: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1048 RE: Classroom Strategies

I am new to the SHAKSPER, but I have devoted attention to this thread
regarding the teaching of Shakespeare. My background is that of a
college graduate with degrees in Media Studies and English; currently
applying to graduate schools. I hope to teach college courses.

My own opinion pertains directly to my experience learning Shakespeare.
One of my Shakespeare classes did not allow us to read any criticism or
theory-only the plays-but we were also shown the BBC series of
Shakespeare's plays on video (which I think are excellent productions).
When I had read the play twice, learning the sometimes difficult
meanings within the rich wordplay, I would watch these videos and read
along with them. I feel reading the play thoroughly and understanding
the archetypal psychology Shakespeare wished to share with his future
generations is very important. I also think, (and it may be presumptuous
of me-I've never performed or directed any play) the kind of
understanding and insight into the characters one gains from a thorough
reading would be beneficial to any performance.

Do we presume that Shakespeare didn't read and revise his plays with his
imagination, and then work through the techniques of direction and
performance? I suppose I am curious what all the fuss is between drama
and literary scholars?

Best Regards,
Karen Eblen

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Yogev <
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Date:           Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 12:07:30 +0200
Subject:        Reading vs/and Watching Shakespeare

I've been following the thread of the "classroom strategy" discussion
for some time now, and the most entertaining and sensible response I've
seen thus far is Karen Krebser's.  I appreciate and share her umbrage at
the idea that one must see in order to fully
understand/appreciate/experience the plays of Shakespeare.  Isn't this
really a case of apples and oranges, with any performance/video of the
plays one sort of pleasure, and the text quite another?  I always inform
my students that there are many delights and shocks attending any live
performances that may arrive in Israel and be within their student-or my
teacher's-budget (no small consideration these days), but I am
absolutely adamant in my claims that the pleasures of the text, whether
read silently or aloud, are substantial and not to be discounted.  They
are simply different pleasures than those of a performance, as the
editors of the First Folio themselves clearly recognized in taking on
their project.  So many of Shakespeare's lines contain lovely, subtle
ironies when regarded on the page that can never be as multiple and
suggestive in a live performance or film, and careful study of the text
can demonstrate how, to take just one example, Kenneth Branagh's _Henry
V_ studiously edits out all the lines which make the young king look
anything but England's greatest warrior/monarch.  Surely this is food
for thought at any level of study?

Michael Yogev
Dept. of English
University of Haifa

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hayley Grill <
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Date:           Saturday, 18 Oct 1997 10:41:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Classroom strategies

I am both a writer and an actor.  A believe a student must first
understand the basic story and meaning behind the language, as a writer
does, and then progress to the physical embodiment, as an actor does.
Shakespeare is twofold.  It expects you to pay as much attention to the
words and the passion behind them.  I believe the sooner a student can
get over "Oh No It's Shakespeare" and get into the story the better.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Perry Herzfeld <
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Date:           Sunday, 19 Oct 1997 15:49:31 +0000
Subject:        Classroom Strategies - Student's point of view

I have only recently joined the SHAKSPER list, and I have never posted
anything before.  So, here we go; there's a first time for everything.

I have read a lot of comments about classroom strategies for teaching
Shakespeare, however I feel that it has all been very one-sided.  To be
more specific, all those who are making the comments are teachers.  So I
have decided to offer my opinion, as a year ten student studying
Shakespeare.

The first thing my English teacher said when we began studying R&J this
term was that he believes there is nothing worse than listening to
students reading Shakespeare badly, and thereby ruining it.  After
having several experiences of this, I must say that I agree with him.
So, the way we studied the play was by listening to it on tape, done by
professional actors.  (The version we are using is by the Renaissance
Theatre Company, staring Kenneth Branagh.)  This proved to be a very
good way of studying the play, as it was far better than having students
read it, and far less expensive than taking the whole class to the
theatre.

I believe that the best way to study Shakespeare in class is first
listening to the play on tape (while following with a copy of the text)
and then going to see it on stage (the next best thing is seeing it on
video).  It would be excellent to perform it in class, but it just
becomes monotonous, boring, dull and thoroughly lifeless.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Oct 1997 05:18:48 -0400
Subject: RE: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        SHK 8.1048  RE: Classroom Strategies

The strategy I've found most helpful over the years involves an
unstudied use of eye-contact, vocal inflection and hand gestures which
I employ whilst talking at length about the play.  Occasionally, I walk
to the blackboard and write on it.  These outlandish  gambits shock the
students of course, but I explain that we teachers must always be
prepared to take risks in their interests. Several have told me what a
relief it is to get away from the traditional routine of emotional
outpouring and exhausting physical activity which not only puts so many
of them off the Bard, but can also be the cause of muscular problems
later in life.

Terence Hawkes
 

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