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The Course of True Learning Never Did Run Smooth | O, What Learning is

By December 8, 2014 One Comment

In previous postings I have written about the changes to the new educational curriculum in the UK, and the requirement now to study more Shakespeare at each educational level than before.

Too Much Shakespeare?

This week in The Telegraph, a head- teacher from one of Oxford’s most successful and academic schools has suggested that this will put young people off Shakespeare; rather than engaging them more.

Bringing Shakespeare Alive

On Twitter this week I noticed a Tweet from a primary school which commented on how young people need to see productions and take part in practical exercises before being asked to analyse the text.

@Primarydrama Bring Shakespeare alive for young kids-let them watch&perform it before they have to analyse the text @RSCEducation

There are several articles online this month that fall under the heading of Shakespeare Education showing children and young people doing just that. Here’s just a few to inspire your teaching


School children engaged by RSC workshop. Photo courtesy of RSC Education.

School children engaged by RSC workshop. Photo courtesy of RSC Education.

Royal Shakespeare Company – Teaching Shakespeare video demonstrates the Whoosh technique for recapping a play’s plot line.

This video shows a very simple activity which can be used in any classroom to go over the story of a Shakespeare play and perhaps to introduce a few key quotations. It’s fun, fast and focussed – you only need to see the faces of the youngsters in the film to see how engaged they are. These are not the faces of young people who are being turned off Shakespeare.

In Bradford, UK, youngsters are being inspired by Shakespeare as they take part in a festival designed to raise literacy standards and get children involved in the stories of Shakespeare’s plays by making them modern and relevant

Musical Chairs

Also on the internet this week I found a great game which could played in the classroom to get your class engaging with lines from the play that you happen to be studying. Shakespearean musical chairs is an active game whereby the class all come into contact with lots of different quotes from their set play and some subliminal music references too. I can’t wait to try this one out!

Tempest quotation for use in Shakespearean Musical Chairs.

Tempest quotation for use in Shakespearean Musical Chairs.


Shakespeare Across the Globe

And why do we all work so hard to introduce Shakespeare to our young people? It’s not just the richness of the stories but the relationships that we can build and develop through learning. Shakespeare helps us to consider others and to think about human beings. A fantastic project called the World Shakespeare Project is using videoconferencing to link students in the US, UK, India, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil, and North American Tribal Colleges. Through this project, children are being given the opportunity to learn and develop through their interaction with other children all over the world.

The Macbeths in Purulia, West Bengal, India

The Macbeths in Purulia, West Bengal, India

The videoconferencing uses i-pads, blackboards, i-phones, Skype and emails to deliver the classroom encounters, which also feature some very practical sessions as discussed in this post.

It seems that far from being put off by Shakespeare; young people find more in his work to engage them and to help them to break down the barriers between culture and religion than ever before.



Author Lucy Rix

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