The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0797  Monday, 18 September 2006

From: 		Kevin de Ornellas <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 15 Sep 2006 18:33:43 +0100
Subject: 	RSC Appeal to Educators

BBC News
Friday, 15 September 2006,
Appeal over Shakespeare Lessons:
The RSC wants Shakespeare's work to leap off the page

The Royal Shakespeare Company has claimed that "boring" lessons are 
putting youngsters in England off Shakespeare's work for life.

It is beginning its campaign to transform the way his works are taught.

The theatre company said one of the problems was a lack of live 
performances of Shakespeare's work - so pupils had only the printed word.

Director of learning, Maria Evans, said they should act out scenes in 
class and have a practical element to exams.

In 2006-07 the company is hosting a festival which will see every play 
written by Shakespeare performed by the RSC itself and by other national 
and international theatre companies.

Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, Ms Evans said: "Stop your 
average young person in the street, ask them what they think about 
Shakespeare and 'Boring!' will be a fairly common response.

"Shakespeare remains the only writer studied by every young person in 
Britain, but many leave formal education determined never to come into 
contact with the Bard again."

She said the current assessment format involved a focus on two scenes from 
a play - the present texts for 11 to 14-year-olds being Much Ado About 
Nothing, Richard III or The Tempest.

Not only did this mean pupils were repeatedly focusing on the same scenes, 
but they studied the lines in isolation from the rest of the play, she 

"Coming up with alternative means of assessment - such as introducing a 
practical element to exams - is a key component of our campaign.

"I believe passionately that all teaching should include some 
theatre-based activities."

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said: "Shakespeare 
is a vital part of our literacy heritage and always will be - it's vital 
that pupils learn the great classics.

"The best teaching is based on a creative, in-depth approach leading to 
understanding and this is what schools are already delivering."

Official guidance said Shakespeare should be taught "in an active, 
engaging way", focusing on the play as a whole piece of drama.

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