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ERIC Number: EJ1017381
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Research for the Classroom: To Read or Not to Read--Five Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare
Shoemaker, Brandon
English Journal, v102 n4 p111-114 Mar 2013
How teachers can use such materials as parallel-text editions, graphic novels, and film adaptations to increase students' understanding of and interest in Shakespeare was the impetus for a classroom action research project that examined the effects of teaching methods on student comprehension and engagement. The author of this article describes how, by reading "Hamlet" five different ways, he and his secondary school students discovered which methods yielded the highest comprehension of and appreciation for Shakespeare's words. The five approaches were (1) New Critical approach; (2) The Sparknotes "No Fear Shakespeare" parallel-text version; (3) Graphic novels; (4) Film versions; and (5) Student performance. During the fall semester of 2009, the author tried five methods on his two English IV college preparatory classes that he told would be studying "Hamlet." For each act of the play, he implemented a different approach to the text. Test scores revealed that student comprehension was highest when they had viewed the film adaptation of "Hamlet." Students scored an average of 89% on the act 4 test. The study reflected that the students best understood and enjoyed Shakespearean drama through viewing a performance, rather than reading the play. Since professional live theater is less accessible for class study, film adaptations of plays can serve as appropriate substitutes. Some students, particularly males, achieved higher comprehension through particular instructional methods; for example, more male students achieved higher comprehension scores after reading the graphic novel adaptation than female students did. Performing Shakespeare's plays also boosted student interest. No single method will be effective for every class. Teachers must differentiate instruction and utilize multiple approaches when teaching Shakespeare, as they do with every text and topic. Employing a variety of teaching methods will facilitate the development of both passion and comprehension for all students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A