Morag Venter

    Retired English teacher and former Head of English

    Sometimes teaching Shakespeare is just hard work.  Often we spend so much time explaining the vocabulary that we don’t seem to get beyond the words to the play.

    Help is at hand!

    The Cambridge School Shakespeare series is a most valuable resource.  Although these books would probably cost too much to provide for all your learners, you as the teacher should make every effort to get them.  I bought the latest one I needed second-hand from Amazon.com for 5 cents and it has been worth every cent of the postage.

    Although the text is not pruned or simplified, the activities provided for enrichment and discussion are just at the right level for teenagers.  These books are packed with splendid suggestions, incorporating all kinds of skills from writing headlines, to interviewing for positions (eg Chief of Police for Verona!), to casting staff members (oops!) or film stars the pupils think would best convey the role.  There are suggestions for letters and replies to agony aunts, for debates, for television interviews – the list goes on and on.  The suggestions are so practical and yet such fun that they will involve all the pupils in the analysis of the play.

    The general handbook for teachers, Teaching Shakespeare, is most stimulating and contains a 73-page chapter on ‘Active methods’.  And the individual editions on the different plays are more specific but equally exciting.  All of them are printed in a most user-friendly format – easy to use in the classroom. Series editor, Rex Gibson, and his team have done an excellent job.

    Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy as soon as possible.

    Teaching Shakespeare by Rex Gibson, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 0 521 57788 8

    Or Romeo and Juliet ISBN: 0 521 63497 0

    Categories: Issue I