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?
Here the lesson is part of a unit emphasizing fresh approaches to literary analysis and showcases my pedagogical philosophy that students learn best when actively engaged in learning.
In its unit context, this is
Lesson 6 for The Taming of the Shrew
In this lesson, students complete a formative assessment, which takes the form of a visual quiz.
The quiz follows completion of Act 2 tasks but may also be used as an assessment for Act 1 once it has been finished.
Tell a class of students they're taking a quiz, and the announcement will be accompanied by "wailing and gnashing of teeth." Tell students they're taking a visual quiz and that for this quiz they may
and by the end of the period the teacher may hear, "I really like doing things like this."
I assigned today's visual quiz for several reasons:
Since this type of quiz is new to students, it's important to monitor their work throughout the period.
One pair kept asking questions that made me think they were taking a "less is more" approach to the task. For example, "Do we have to put the servants from Act 1 into our drawing." To answer, I posed a question: "Do the servants have a relationship with any of the characters in the act?" The pair asked several such questions, so after about the third one, I told them that their questions made me think they're looking for ways to avoid work rather than for ways to show me their understanding of the act.
Interestingly, the students, for the most part, took a very linear approach to the quiz. Student Work Act 1I'm not sure why yet, but I was both curious and a little concerned. I wander if students have been forced into linear thinking or if a linear presentation helps them organize complex tasks.
Those who incorporated both visual representations as well as textual ones produced a more thorough analysis of the text. Student Analysis Act 1
Students who did not finish were allowed to stay into lunch and continue working. I did not allow students to take the quiz home or offer to let anyone return later to continue working on it since it is, after all, a quiz.