The great works of Shakespeare are mainstays of the Australian English curriculum. However, many students find it challenging, even excruciating, to study his plays. Shakespearean language is foreign and forces students to digest words like ‘Thou’ and ‘Hast’, which have completely fallen into disuse, and phrases such as ‘slug-a-bed’ and ‘kicky-wicky’ can appear on the verge of gibberish. To boot, the content can seem like a relic of the Dark Ages. After all, in this day and age, who really cares about the division of kingdoms, scheming witches and ghosts that return from the dead?
Nevertheless, Shakespeare’s plays have overcome the test of time. In his works, we find universal human questions that concern love, greed, power and fate. We can explore the breadth of human existence through his diverse portrayals of birth, growth, emotions, conflict and death. Through studying the anguished soliloquies of Hamlet and the love-sick ravings of Romeo, students grapple with big questions and confront what it means to be human. Students will develop intellectually, and also emotionally, as they learn to apply Shakespeare’s enduring wisdom to their modern lives.
At this point, it is clear that we need to make Shakespeare’s plays attractive to students, but how do we give Shakespeare a modern makeover? This challenge has perplexed educators for decades, but here at Schooling Online, we have the perfect solution.
Our videos progress students beyond a surface understanding of Shakespearean drama and encourage them to embrace the complex content and ideas. We deconstruct each play in detail by examining its structure, plot and notable quotes. We translate Shakespeare’s Elizabethan English into contemporary English that students can easily grasp. The lessons thoroughly explain the context of each play, so that students are able to understand why Shakespeare’s plays were so powerful in the past and why they still resonate today.
Of course, we believe that Shakespearean dramas are meant to be performed. True to form, our theatrical narrator brings each character to life, while our edgy animations allow students to visualise the action as it unfolds. Additionally, we have put a modern spin on each play by including a relatable theme that appeals to students. Check out our latest lesson on the Merchant of Venice - the Shakespearean drama selected for study in the upcoming Texts and Human Experiences common module in 2019 – see our take on the popular tv show Suits.
As a team of professional educators, we know that students doth protest too much when studying Shakespeare’s plays. But how can we let them miss out on this valuable learning experience?
To quote the famous King from Richard the Second:
“Learn, good soul, To think our former state a happy dream; From which awak’d, the truth of what we are”
For the price of your daily coffee, give your child the modern gear to tackle Shakespeare. Join Schooling Online today!