The TES is reporting that more than half of English teachers say their pupils find it difficult to connect to the playwright’s work.
And almost half of teachers say their pupils are convinced they won’t understand Shakespeare’s plays before they’ve read even a single verse, a poll finds.
In the survey of 500 teachers, 56 per cent felt that their students found it difficult to relate to the Bard’s plays. And 55 per cent said that their pupils were uninspired by his work.
“Shakespeare is an iconic author in this country,” said Anna Lobbenberg, a member of the Discovering Literature team at the British Library, which commissioned the survey. “Teachers love teaching his plays.
“However, the language is obscure and complex. And the plays are set in periods so far away from students’ lives that students really struggle to find a way to make the plays make sense.”
“…But there are so many ways in which Shakespeare’s plays are relevant to the 21st century,” Ms Lobbenberg said. “They explore subjects like gender, cross-dressing, sexuality, ethnicity, mental health, colonialism, power and social hierarchy. These are subjects that young people feel very strongly about…”
See more, including resources, from the British Library at: Discovering Literature; Shakespeare
Is it a question of over-coming initial preconceptions or would you argue that Shakespeare’s work no longer relevant in schools?
Please tell us what you think and how you make the works talk to your students…
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