Monday, November 7, 2016

Social Media Performance in the Teaching of Shakespeare

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Social Media popular platforms have already taken over
the standardization of Shakespeare in current culture
Education is very important to me. Whether I choose to simply pursue a teaching degree, or whether I decide to go to teach in colleges, I want to spend my life teaching (hopefully English). This becomes more complex when Shakespeare is brought into the mix. What is the best way to teach Shakespeare? (This obviously takes for granted that Shakespeare should be taught; however, with the size of his fingerprint on our culture and especially on literature, I feel like it is understood how important it really is). What methods can be used to help students to understand, apply, and gain meaning from Shakespeare, while acquiring important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills?

This topic has been brought up for hundreds of years. Shakespeare used to be banned in the early Puritan days of America. It slowly worked its way in, and then teachers started debating it. When I first started researching, I wanted to find information about how performance influenced the learning of Shakespeare. I should have known that everyone has thought about it (here is a bibliography of popular articles that talk directly about it). Other articles, in a different angle, have discussed the role of media or social media in the teaching of Shakespeare. One referenced Youtube in productions, both professionally made and made by students, in helping students to understand and also to comment and network with different productions. This slideshow discusses how different technology can aid in the teaching of Shakespeare. Obviously, Dr. Burton has discussed this with us at length. In my "straw poll" on slack, some students performed in class without social sources, and very few had connections with social sources before this class. Personally, I never performed in an English class and had not done any online interaction in an English class about anything, including Shakespeare.

I would like to write about the crossroads of these two ideas. We should incorporate both performance and social and media sources into our Shakespeare teaching in public schools. Students would be able to create a performance, video it however they would like to (either in person or through a different medium, comics, puppets, etc.), and upload that video onto a forum of discussion with other students. This approach would cover many learning outcomes, including close reading and understanding of the text, interpretation, speaking/oratory skills, creativity, social networking, discussion, and proper internet citizenship.

I would love to hear ideas about what to watch out for or be aware of, or insights into these ideas. If there are specific plays that you would suggest that I could use to do a close reading of or use as a case study, let me know.


  1. I thought about this topic too, but I think you've thought through a really good angle for it. I think there is probably a lot already said on this topic which might be difficult, but also might leave a good space for you to enter the conversation (something I'm having a bit more of a struggle with.)

  2. Are you going to talk at all about how the way Shakespeare has been taught has changed? For example, why did it used to be banned? Has the way it's been seen changed as the country has changed? Have certain plays been taught more than others at specific periods of time?