How important do you think it is to be taught Shakespeare in English lessons, and why?
For me it is important because the plays (and to some extent the poetry) of William Shakespeare contain profound scenes concerning human nature, political behaviour and morals. Plus they allow young people to explore their imaginations, dreams and ideas. That's not to mention the drama displayed, worth teaching for this alone!!
Yet there are challenges. The language is difficult in some of the plays, and the reputation of the Bard of Avon has to be overcome. I find this is best done by getting students involved in the action right from the start - don't go through speech after speech analysing but get to the bare bones of the drama and physically act it out as you go along. This way students learn through doing and it sets them up for more academic learning afterwards.
My step-son was a C student in high school. I homeschooled him for 6 weeks at the end of 11th grade because he had moved in with me after I married his dad.
In the new high school he became a straight A+ student and graduated 6 months early.
One of the books he read from cover to cover was about Shakespeare. It was a simplified book so it was easier to read and understand. He loved it! He sat here every day and read that book. I really do think that is one reason his grades improved.
I have no problem with studying the classics. My problem is being able to read them and understand the outdated language that they are written in. I really don't see any reason for a student to learn how people spoke and wrote, 400 years ago. It's definitely NOT something that any of us will ever use in our lives.
The stories themselves are excellent, but I think someone should go through these writings and bring the vocabulary up to date. If they did that, I think more students would be interested in reading them. As it stands now, it's almost torture, at least for me, to read any book written more than a century ago...
Its completely a personal and circumstantial preference. For me its completely irrelevant. I'm sure for many others it is some how relevant to their jobs, passions, hobbies or just simple likes. For me who is in the medical field, loves horror movies, apologetics and football, not important at all.
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