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Shakespeare by Extracts

Discussion in 'English' started by KSmiling, May 6, 2020.

  1. KSmiling

    KSmiling New commenter

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm about to take up a position teaching English and Humanities at a secondary school in Kent.
    I've been told that my Year 8 and 9s are being taught Shakespeare by studying extracts only.
    My classes are mid-low ability, with a high proportion EAL and behaviour is an issue I'm told. Apart from being able to focus on language structure and learning quotes, I just can't see how the students will benefit from this. In the past I have always used drama and group discussion to teach the whole text and the students have enjoyed it!
    Does anyone know of what theory teaching Shakespeare by extract only is based on?

    Many thanks,
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    If you're about to be HoD I'd take the opportunity to change the policy!
    I suspect that extracts are considered easier as an introduction to the language, but in that case there are 147 sonnets to choose from.
    Lidnod likes this.
  3. KSmiling

    KSmiling New commenter

    Hi thanks for your message. I’m an NQT so won’t be able to change the policy. However, I will be teaching Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. I’m looking for theories and reasons for extract only work since I’ve been told drama is out. So just thinking out loud as to how to engage by line by line analysis followed by PEE!
  4. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    I was told this by my supervisor during my PGCE. I'll never forget her telling me there just wasn't enough time to teach whole texts and those who wanted to do so were foolish. Big drop in respect there.
    I would always give students the whole experience of the play, regardless of departmental practice before. At least they can watch a stage or on-screen production before focusing in on particular extracts. As long as they have analysed the assigned extracts, I can't see why anyone would object to you extending their understanding.
    There is no 'theory' on teaching extracts only and all research supports the idea that students need to experience whole texts. With behaviour issues and lots of EAL, slogging through line-by-line would be undesirable (and I doubt you'd ever suggest trying), so do what you know works and encourage their love of literature. I'm pretty sure that more engaging teaching with whole stories would address some behaviour issues too!
  5. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    "drama is out"?
    Ummm - they are plays - you know, actually drama.
  6. KSmiling

    KSmiling New commenter

    Hi, this is what puzzles me. The main focus seems to be on the language and the students understanding and learning the extract with an eye on the AQA Lit AO1 and AO2 criteria before answering an exam question. Is this just ground work to improve the PEE skills of these low-mid attainment Y8s for Year 11 at the expensive of enjoying Macbeth as a play? I am very confused!

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