Sunday, 19 April 2009

Shakespeare Workshop review!

I flt so previlaged when i was asked to be incolved in the Royal Shakespeare Company's workshop for teachers. The idea was to learn lots of games and teaching techniques to help create more interest in shakespeare in schools and make it wasier and more interesting to learn across all ages. I did not really know what to expect but was very excited. I was asked to write a review for molly after the wokshop about how it went and what i learnt so i thought i would post that.

The Royal Shakespeare Workshop carried out at St Mary’s University Twickenham offered a refreshing and accessible way to teach Shakespeare in order to gain a greater understanding of potentially initially daunting texts. The inset course run by Taryn Storey was a collaboration of games and activities geared towards unpicking Shakespearian language to encourage performers to find the hidden clues within the text, that when discovered unlock the indication of staging, characterisation and setting as the RSC believe that all young people in schools today are entitled to a positive experience of Shakespeare through the best possible teaching.

As a prospective teacher myself the day helped by building my confidence surrounding the work of Shakespeare and helped me to realise its importance within the National Curriculum. It was stressed that his work is not to be feared, hated or static but in fact should be performed, animated and celebrated. It made me appreciate that Shakespeare writes about all the relevant aspects of today’s society however uses more eloquent and aesthetic vocabulary that demands to be spoken in a certain rhythm and pace. It is only through this workshop that I got a direct understanding of the demands of the text and where to look for these clues. Once the clues had been pointed out to us and we had a chance to play about with the ideas it seemed hard to remember why we could not initially identify them as it all started to become very clear.

The day was a chance to meet other teachers from different schools and backgrounds that all have different students with varied abilities and interests. Taryn demonstrated tasks that could be adapted to suit any student and as the course progressed we all discussed further ideas with each other of our own experiences and potential ways to adapt and filter the work from the session into the classroom. All the activities were also relevant across Shakespeare’s vast range of plays so that those that attended could go away with a bank of activities ready to apply to their given texts making the day relevant for everyone.

The day became a blend of images and sounds that resonated the themes within both the Tempest and Romeo and Juliette whilst also being open to be applied to other texts. It not only offered teachers a chance to discuss ideas for possible lessons but also a chance to learn more about the schools in their local areas. It captured us all as adults as we worked through text engaging our imaginations along with our senses.

We began to gain a greater understanding of characters and their emotions as well as their rolls within the plays. It soon became a pleasure to study Shakespeare through games, on our feet with enthusiasm and intent as it should be. By doing this, the work we produced appeared coherent and overall fun to watch and I would urge anyone to take part in this workshop if the chance arose as it has completely changed my slant on Shakespeare and injected life into work that is so often loathed but should only ever be enjoyed. I believe the students will reflect the clear and enthusiastic methods of which Shakespeare is now to be taught.

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