Thursday, November 29, 2007

Teachers TV Shakespeare Week

3 - 9 December

A week of programmes dedicated to Britain’s greatest playwright – William Shakespeare. We focus on the different ways teachers can help their pupils embrace difficult texts. Programmes on offer include:

Teaching with Bayley: To Learn or not to Learn
In this programme John Bayley and Nick, a deputy head of English, develop a range of strategies to engage the students based around a more patient and explicit explanation of the lesson objectives. On John's advice Nick also plays to the students' particular learning styles, asking the class to represent the plot of the play either in words, music, as a rap song or in pictures. As a consequence, the class is much more focused.

Macbeth in the Classroom
Language is always the hardest aspect of teaching Shakespeare to young people, but this series aims to overcome such difficulties by focusing on key teaching ideas and techniques that will engage pupils with Shakespeare.

KS3 Macbeth in the Classroom 1 -
KS3 Macbeth in the Classroom 2 -

This highly acclaimed 1998 production places the action in a contemporary and gritty setting, with the self-destructive Macbeth and his Lady reborn in an industrialised and apocalyptic war zone.

KS3 English: The Tempest – Drama Strategies
RSC Learning Network teacher Jude Graham uses drama strategies to compare the character of Prospero in two key scenes of the Tempest. She helps a class pinpoint key changes in the plot by examining the rhythm of Shakespeare’s poetry, and uses improvisation to help the class further understand the character’s motives.

KS3 English: The Tempest at Bolsover School
It’s The Tempest, but not as we know it. Year 9 students at The Bolsover School use rap, break-dancing and Gamelan music to tell their own version of Shakespeare’s play. Between extracts of the show, break-dancer and rapper Charlie takes us through the rehearsals and classroom preparations.

KS3 English: Much Ado in the Classroom
English teachers across West Berkshire are pinning their hopes on drama strategies in a bid to improve the results of students taking their KS3 Shakespeare paper. According to English consultant Frances Gregory, teachers have often taught Shakespeare's plays as books to be read rather than plays to be performed. Frances believes Much Ado is a gift for drama strategies, as students can readily identify with two key scenes showing conflict between Benedict and Beatrice.

KS3 English: Much Ado at Brays Grove
Students from Brays Grove Community School join forces with MOPA Theatre Company to perform a 15-minute version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, featuring themes of evil, comedy and love. The cast of volunteers is selected from a watching audience of Year 9 students. While only a few words from the actual text are used, students are encouraged to express their reaction to events in their own language.

KS3 English: Richard III – RSC Approaches
Jacqui O'Hanlon from the Learning Department at the Royal Shakespeare Company offers practical strategies for teachers of Richard III in a specially commissioned workshop for Teachers TV. RSC practitioner Rachel Gartside takes the teachers through collective role plays, encouraging them to find words to connect to the dilemmas faced by their characters, and offering an egalitarian way to tackle the nervousness of reading in public.

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