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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Results of the Experiment
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1335  Saturday, 18 May 2002

[1]     From:   Kelli Marshall <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 2002 09:25:55 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment

[2]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 2002 12:32:28 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment

[3]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 15 May 2002 20:11:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1327 Re: Results of the Experiment

[4]     From:   Laura Blankenship <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 May 2002 13:07:10 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1297 Re: Results of the Experiment

[5]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 May 2002 22:11:49 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Results of the Experiment


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kelli Marshall <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 2002 09:25:55 -0500
Subject: 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment

Marcia Eppich-Harris writes,

>I am very glad that Kelli's experience of teaching Shakespeare to
>undergrads has been different. I think if I were teaching English majors,
>then the semester would have been very different too. Since this was a
>general education class, the most basic research class, and  one of the
>students were English majors (except the Japanese exchange students), it
>didn't work out so well.

Thanks so much for the detailed response about the experiment, Marcia!
Your explanation does clarify quite a few things for me.

I did notice however that you never mentioned the use of the visual in
your classroom--whether theatrical performance or film. (I pray this
statement doesn't prompt another heated discussion on Shakespeare and
film!) Nonetheless, specifically for the non-English majors (and many of
the English majors) to whom I have taught Shakespeare, I have found that
the primary way to spark their interest in the Bard is via the
visual--which is of course the way we are supposed to come to know
Shakespeare (and other dramatic works) anyway, right? (A well-done
Shakespeare film is precisely what got me--then an undergrad and a
non-English major--hooked on Shakespeare for life.) Just food for
thought...

Thanks again for your response,

Kelli Marshall
http://www.utdallas.edu/~kmarshal

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 2002 12:32:28 -0400
Subject: 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1323 Re: Results of the Experiment

<<The environment for this experiment was a basic (and I do mean BASIC)
research writing class>>

I would suggest that Marcia's efforts were undermined from the get-go by
the nature of the class.

In a class whose focus is research, the time to explore the texts
themselves is inevitably limited.  In the appx 3 weeks you were able
steal for two Shakespeare plays, you did not have sufficient time to do
with them what a literature class needs must do to bring meaning to the
works.  That is not in any way a criticism of your teaching, merely of
the circumstances.

I'd also suggest (and it would not have been possible within your time
constraints) that having the students discuss among themselves in small
groups for part of the class duration might have encouraged a few more
of them to risk offering thoughts on the works (especially if you can
provide some direction for the discussion and if you circulate
throughout the class while these groups are discussing).

A much fairer test would be to include several Shakespeare plays in a
"basic" literature class (of the sort many higher-ed institutions still
require of all their matriculants.  Could the "basic" students in such a
class master a Shakespeare play?

Mari Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Wednesday, 15 May 2002 20:11:09 +0100
Subject: 13.1327 Re: Results of the Experiment
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1327 Re: Results of the Experiment

I have seen similar pain being expressed on similar posts before and
wonder why certain teachers insist on such obvious discomfort.  I say
again that children should not have Shakespeare inflicted upon them -
not until they are at least 30.  Within most Shakespeare plots there are
many middle-aged preoccupations of death, old age, family betrayals,
senility and not to speak of tortuous sexual attractions to both sexes.
This is not the type of material that gets the attention of school
children.  It may be the abiding fascination of English teachers, but
few other people.  There are hundreds of other writers to consider any
of which would lead eventually to Shakespeare - perhaps.  IMDB.com shows
91 films with Shakespeare as part or all of the plot.   The man is
everywhere in the English speaking world - and beyond.

Even in the tenuous successes that some teachers have mentioned perhaps
some extra questions could have been added to the experiment: 1. Would
you rather see "Measure for Measure" or go to a Britney Spears concert?
2 Would you rather watch "King Lear" or watch "The Jerry Springer Show?"
3. Would you rather read the sonnets or kiss your boy/girlfriend?

"Leave the kids alone"
Pink Floyd

SAM SMALL

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blankenship <
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Date:           Friday, 17 May 2002 13:07:10 -0400
Subject: 13.1297 Re: Results of the Experiment
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1297 Re: Results of the Experiment

>>College today is something that kids do after high school. It's not
>>really about learning anything or being challenged to be the best you
>>can be. It's about getting a diploma so you can get a job. But my class
>>this semester was a challenge, and I think it showed me -- now more than
>>ever -- that some people should just not be in a liberal arts college
>>environment. Some people should just go to technical colleges and forget
>>about "general education" requirements. Some people are NOT cut out for
>>college -- period.
>>
> I would put MBA programs as Harvard, Wharton,
>etc., and *all* so-called computer science degrees in the same
>category--i.e. technical degrees

I have to differ with you on this--and dispel pre-conceived notions
about computer science.  Some computer science,  those that focus on
application use, network/server administration, information systems kind
of areas, do tend toward technical school approach.  But there are huge
areas that are more theoretical: artificial intelligence, emergent
computation, information theory, etc.  In fact, to bring this back to
Shakespeare, many of the computer scientists I know actually got their
degrees in humanities fields, one I know in Renaissance literature who
did his thesis on Marvell's "Upon Appleton House."  Would that all
scientists had more of a humanities background.

Laura Blankenship
Renaissance Scholar and Technophile

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Friday, 17 May 2002 22:11:49 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Results of the Experiment

Kelli Marshall says:

> once the students realize that the
> material is really not that foreign, they seem quite
> interested in it.

In my seminars I make Shakespeare's plays rather foreign to us by
localising the plays (eg, presenting Elizabethan cultural elements which
are not so familiar to us). By making the plays foreign to us, they
paradoxically become un-foreign to us. And my students seem to enjoy it.
Preparing these materials, of course, requires a much longer time than
close reading, but it's challenging and rewarding.

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

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