Should Shakespeare be taught in high school? What a dumb question to ask to a group of sophomores. The highest response will be a resounding No. The students see the work they would not have to do if Shakespeare was not a portion of the current curriculum. But then again, most students would get rid of 90 percent of the subject and material being taught if they could get away with it. Even with the matter they are presently learning having been dumbbed down to ensure a higher level of students pass. While, personally, I feel Shakespeare should be taught in high school, it should be started at a middle school level. More time is then allowed to be used to benefit students actually learning and understanding the material, instead of just memorizing facts and pieces to get them through the unit.
It is important to study Shakespeare because “He reveals to us so much about our own nature” (Source C). William Shakespeare writes about things that are simple and easy to understand, situations that cross over time and cultural changes. We can all see the connections to our own life and situations in his timeless pieces. And it makes sense to teach these stories throughout school, instead of just immersing the high school students into it. Romeo and Juliet is a tale everyone knows at least the basics of, and with the edited version in the Write-In Readers, it would be simple to drop it into the middle school English curriculum. It is not a hard story to comprehend if taught correctly. And while you are on the unit, read Hamlet. Have the middle school scholars then watch The Lion King and compare and contrast them. No one is ever too old to tear up when Mufasa dies; something that they can compare to the death of Hamlet’s father. Find similarities in Scar and Claudius; between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with Timon and Pumbaa. Then allow the high school students to focus on the lesser known plays. On A Mid-Summer’s Night’s Dream, Othello, Macbeth. School all around...
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