Role of film in teaching Shakespeare

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Odradek, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. Odradek

    Odradek Rookie

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    Oct 6, 2017

    I'm going to teach Julius Caesar soon to 10th graders, and I'm wondering how people approach using film productions in teaching Shakespeare. In the past I've always shown the films at the end of the unit, but now I'm thinking about front-loading the film: having students watch clips and follow along with their text for homework, annotating according to instructions (focused on comprehension); then in class group-read that same section with a more analytical lens. Does that sound like a good approach to improving comprehension or does that seem like it's just passive learning?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 6, 2017

    Plays are, by nature, multi-sensory. Often, they are easier to understand if you can see the action and hear the words. That being said, you may wish to find multiple versions of different scenes (I live for YouTube's vast library). That way, you can also look at the Common Core standard of transforming source material.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 6, 2017

    What is your goal? Is it to teach the contents of the play or to teach students how to comprehend the written word that is then turned into a play?

    You can kiss any assessment of their ability to independently read and comprehend the written words if you either preview with a movie or read aloud to them in advance of assessing what they can independently do.

    To me, how you teach depends on what you are trying to achieve.

    I do agree plays are supposed to be seen by audiences. Plays typically start with a written script rather than a play that is written down into a script which means someone being able to read and comprehend the written play is far more important than understanding it when watched. If they can't read and comprehend it independently, they can't turn it into art.

    Cat's idea of multiple versions of the a scene is great as a follow-up activity.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Oct 6, 2017

    I vary what I do. Sometimes I have them read a scene on their own and then we perform it as a class. Their job is to know and understand their role well. Sometimes I'll show them a version or multiple versions of a scene or act. I believe the plays are meant to be performed, watched, and enjoyed.
    Before we start a play, we do some work with excerpts from other plays and analyze soliloquies. This gets them used to the language.
    I also encourage them to use the no fear Shakespeare when reading independently. That text is still very complex for my students but a bit more manageable than reading the original.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Oct 6, 2017

    I teach Hamlet to seniors. A few years ago I started front loading with video. We watch a scene, paying attention to the physical and emotional moves, and then read it, giving us more of an opportunity to examine the language.
     
  7. Odradek

    Odradek Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2017

    Thanks, everyone. Very helpful.
     

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