Shakespeare as a Second Language

Topics: Linguistics, Drama, William Shakespeare Pages: 4 (992 words) Published: May 18, 2014
Multiliteracies, Technologies and the Bard

My experience as a drama teacher in public schools and my observations on prac is that high school students in English or Drama classes find Shakespeare frustrating and alienating. And for many non-English speaking and Indigenous students, Shakespeare requires a cognitive leap made doubly problematic by cultural distance. In many ways, it’s like learning another language, hence the title of my investigation. I intend to explore the literacies that utilise and build upon the traditional linguistic and dramatic techniques, emphasising also the musicality of the text (rhythm and iambic pentameter) as well as the logical/mathematical spheres (text decoding). I also aim to explore and add to the digital technologies that encourage student engagement with Shakespeare. As one teacher aptly remarked, "Looking at these multiple versions and interpretations, students see that Shakespeare is still a living document," (Scott-Smith, Edutopia).

Shakespeare studies in English and Drama gives students significant decoding and comprehension challenges that will lead to increased literacy gains. I also believe that a thorough grasp of Shakespeare can allow students to access the fluidity, elegance and virtuosity of human communication and how this contributes to students’ developmental characteristics, such as empathy. The aim of my investigation of Shakespeare is therefore to enhance clear and authentic communication through the Shakespearean form: linguistically, kinaesthetically and technologically. I’d like my research to unfold chronologically, with Engagement, Exploration and Analysis phases (Moon, Teaching the Novel tutorial) and encompassing ICT, kinaesthetic and rhythmic exploration and rigorous linguistic analysis. Ideally, I will find a way to link my research to social justice and equity programs including Indigenous or ESL student productions.

A Shakespeare ‘package’ would...
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