The necessity of modernmedia in the teaching ofShakespeare and World Literature in schools
Current problems in arts education:• Literary texts are taught in isolation. This advocates the view of texts as ‘sources’, not as ‘adaptations’ which can be flexibly applied to the contemporary.• Arts in general are not taught in a way which utilises a range of cognitive modes of learning. This marginalises the number of students who can access arts.• Not adapted to be in tune with the way the modern generation think, which is undergoing a drastic change compared to the way a generation growing up pre the advent of the internet think.
‘the immediate source of its own truth […] to cite thecanonical metaphor, the imagination ceases tofunction as a mirror reflecting some external realityand becomes a lamp which projects its own internallygenerated light onto things.’
Literature students must be allowed the following:• understanding of how the text can be adapted and applied to their contemporary culture• collaborative adaptation of the text for the creation of meaning• the opportunity to use their creativity• experimentation with understanding the text physically, visually and vocally as well as the traditional academic way• the use of new media technologies to facilitate the above, in order to enhance their capacity for creativity and confidence with these technologies, and by extension the texts
83% of students said that workshops developedtheir understanding of Romeo & Juliet more than their regular English lessons
Responses from Chorlton students: ‘[…] because we explored it in a different way.’‘It was funny and interesting. This is because it was a different way of learning the storyline.’ ‘I enjoyed watching other people’s performances. I also enjoyed interacting with others.’ ‘I enjoyed exploring how society today is still quite similar.’‘I liked learning about how Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet linked/ was relevant to our day now’
‘the lines [become] secondary which is a very freeing thing [because] when the lines aren’t the paramount thing in the front of your mind they take on […] a deeper meaning’
‘I liked the lessons because it was more enjoyable than sitting in a classroom. My brain was more active in the drama room.’ ‘I liked the bit where we made our own drama performancesbecause it was good how we got to recognise more about the fight scene.’
The concept of a "Gutenberg Parenthesis" […] offers a means ofidentifying and understanding the period [in which Gutenbergoperated], varying between societies and subcultures, during whichthe mediation of texts through time and across space was dominatedby powerful permutations of letters, print, pages and books. Ourcurrent transitional experience toward a post-print media worlddominated by digital technology and the internet can be usefullyjuxtaposed with that of the period -- Shakespeares -- when Englandwas making the transition into the parenthesis from a world of scribaltransmission and oral performance.Thomas Pettitt and Peter Donaldson, The Gutenberg Parenthesis: Oral Tradition andDigital Technologies
‘How is the internet changing the way you create? […] The Gutenberg Parenthesis answer would be “it’s making me a bit more like Shakespeare”’ ‘The internet will make us less categorical in the way we perceive the world’ 1440s 1980s
‘yes [the workshops have given me more confidence with Shakespeare] because I have a clear idea of how he writes’‘Yes it did [explain the themes of the play] thoroughly it was great fun. I enjoyed seeing how they translated it to films.’ ‘I liked the idea that we got to come up with our own modernised version and film it’‘[…] it was interesting and fun and let me be a bit more creative than usual.’ ‘I enjoyed the independence we were given when filming’
‘the media are routinely seen as an anti-educationalinfluence, as the deadly enemy of literacy, of morality, of art and culture’ – David Buckingham‘schools create themselves in the image of universities’ – Sir Ken Robinson
The Arts in Schools: Principles, Provision and Practice• in developing a full variety of human intelligence• developing the ability for creative thought and action• in the exploration of values• in understanding cultural change and differences
‘the job market calls for computing, communication, problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills’ ‘Education in the twenty-first century needs to focus more sharply on the ability to communicate, to work in teams, to think critically, to adapt to change, to be moreinnovative, creative and familiar with new technologies.’
50% of the world’s school children study Shakespeare ‘To me, Shakespeare is real life’
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