Reflection: Lesson Planning "Yes, And" and "Yes, But": Using Improvisation to Construct Argument in "The Taming of the Shrew" Act 4 - Section 1: Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Overview and Context


Although the lesson here is one I present in the context of The Taming of the Shrew, it's application goes beyond this one piece of literature. For example, I might use the lesson to get students to flesh out arguments for the following questions: 

  • Who is most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet or their parents?
  • Is Victor Frankenstein or the creature more responsible for the creatures murderous rampage?
  • Is Lady Macbeth or Macbeth more responsible for the murder of Duncan?
  • Is Beowulf skewed more toward the Christian or Pagan paradigm? 

Binary (contrasting elements and relationships) create tension in literature, which means "Yes And, Yes But" will work for teaching students to argue (debate) about any piece of literature in which we find tension or conflict, and that's probably all the literature we teach. Indeed, the game is ideal for assisting students to flesh out opposing ideas in informational texts, too. In fact, I created this lesson for just that purpose while teaching the argumentative speech in my concurrent enrollment communication class. 

Students eagerly share their ideas, including oppositional ones, when we require them to take both sides of an issue, and that's inherent in successful argument. Verbalizing ideas is one step closer to articulating argument in writing. 

  Methodologically Speaking: Moving a Lesson's Design beyond One Text
  Lesson Planning: Methodologically Speaking: Moving a Lesson's Design beyond One Text
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"Yes, And" and "Yes, But": Using Improvisation to Construct Argument in "The Taming of the Shrew" Act 4

Unit 9: "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare: Unmasking a Troubling Text
Lesson 14 of 16

Objective: SWBAT argue about whether or not "The Taming of the Shrew" is a sexist text by playing the improvisational games "Yes, And" and "Yes, But."

Big Idea: Improvisation encourages logical argument and close reading.

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1 teacher likes this lesson
English / Language Arts, argument (Composition), Improvisation, The Taming of the Shrew, Yes And, Yes But, debate, discussions
  60 minutes
students playing yes
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