The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0810 Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Date: Tuesday, 19 Sep 2006 11:34:09 -0500
Subject: 17.0803 Teaching Shakespeare to ESL Students
Comment: RE: SHK 17.0803 Teaching Shakespeare to ESL Students
I was a little dismayed to see that so many folks endorsed using stories
about Shakespeare rather than the plays themselves in order to teach ESL
We have a growing exchange program at our school with a Korean
university. Many of these students are English majors at their home
school, and want to take as many English courses as they can while they
attend an English-speaking institution. As you may expect, however,
their English language skills are limited in comparison to a native speaker.
Last semester I had three of these students take my 400-level
Shakespeare course. Yes, they struggled. Yes, their first test scores
were much lower than they had hoped. However, with the help of a tutor
and a lot of hard work they became some of the top-scoring students by
the end of the term. They not only gained understanding of the plays,
but brought to the class discussions a fascinating depth in their
ability to draw parallels between the English Renaissance and Korean
history and culture.
Two other Korean students actually performed minor (*very* minor) roles
in the theater department's production of As You Like It.
I would not suggest substituting the original play texts with
re-tellings-perhaps one might use them as a supplement, but not as a
Lysbeth Em Benkert
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