The lessons in this unit showcase my pedagogic philosophy that students learn best when they are actively engaged. Traditionally teachers teach Shakespeare's plays much as we teach novels and short stories: Students read the text, analyze and discuss it, take quizzes and tests, and write a paper. What happens when we approach Shakespeare's plays through performance pedagogy and pay homage to the Bard's original intent?
The lessons in this unit emphasize fresh approaches to literary analysis.This lesson is part of a larger unit on William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. In its unit context, this is
Lesson 3 for The Taming of the Shrew
Note: All textual references refer to the Folger Shakespeare Library edition of The Taming of the Shrew.
Before diving into the text, I introduced my students to the Folger Shakespeare Library digital text of The Taming of the Shrew. "The Taming of the Shrew" Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Text
The digital text offers students a portable option for studying the play, and several downloaded the text onto their smart phones as I showed them its features:
I also showed students the list of plays available in digital format. So far the Folger has digitized 15 of Shakespeare's plays.
Students finished reading Act 1.1 as homework, but rather than worry about whether or not all did so, they launch right into a short performace of lines 1.1.78-83.
Even before I could ask for volunteers, I had several. I set back and let the students play with the lines.
One student said there is a mistake on the handout "Two Sisters" (Two Sisters lines 78-83.) because the fight between Bianca and Kate doesn't begin with line 78. I decided not to say anything. Instead, my volunteers proceeded w/ the performance. They're on a journey of discovery, and I don't want to interfere, except to help them construct meaning from the text.
Several pairs of students presented the short scene, including the one here:
When students first begin working on their feet, they will stand right next to one another and just say lines. Asking them some quetions helps them see that movement is not only good but necessary:
Thes questions help students read the text more closely and empower them to make decisons about the text.
For Act 1.2 students work in groups. The handout gives explicit instruction using a step-by-step process students follow. 1.2 Tasks.docx
As students work, I move from group to group and remind them to take notes based on their discussions and to reread when their understanding is unclear. Student notes 1.2
Some students choose to use the traditional text that I check out to them, and others choose the digital text as they work: Students with various script formats 1.2
As I visit each group, I can hear students echoing lines referencing money in the first reading and lines echoing sex and love in the second reading.
Most students did not finish the group work, so they now have it as homework.