Why Learn Through Shakespeare?

Read this blog post summarizing the benefits of studying Shakespeare.

Our new unit is called “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
The AOI context is Community and Service.
The significant concept for this unit is “People develop social selves to reinvent or reform their identities and assimilate into new cultures.”

Ponder these questions and write notes:

  • What advantages does studying Shakespeare give to students?
  • What do you see as the challenges you face in this new text you are reading?
  • Name one Approach to Learning that will help you face the challenge and tell us why this ATL will help you.

Post comment by Oct 8 at 0600 am.

Author: alavina

Cognitive Coach and author. I simplify personal power so you can use mental resources and find pathways to your goals, be more productive and feel in control every day.

14 thoughts

  1. Studying Shakespeare an be advantageous to students because students can recognize, connect with, and relate to conflicts and problems that they read about in his works. Many problems that Shakespeare wrote about are still relevant today. For example, a student might read a Shakespearean piece and question their own morality and how they make choices in their life. Students can also relate to the emotions that they find in Shakespeare’s work. In addition to this, reading Shakespeare can increase a student’s vocabulary and help their historical understanding. The language and word choice that Shakespeare uses can also help and inspire a student in their own work. Students can also learn to look at different perspective and examine the viewpoint of others to become more open-minded about the world around them.

    The main challenge that I might face while reading Shakespeare this unit is the vocabulary. Shakespearian vocabulary is sometimes challenging and hard to understand as a lot of the language he used is not commonly used today. An ATL that might help me face this challenge is Communication-spefically being informed. If I see a word I don’t understand and I can’t tell its meaning from the context, I should look it up and learn it. This would help me if I see the word again.

  2. Studying Shakespeare can help improve the vocabulary as well as historical and cultural knowledge of a student. Because of his time era and location, reading Shakespeare opens up new pathways to learning about England during the 16th century and its culture and differences from modern society. It can also let students gain a connection with the past because many of the issues and conflict in Shakespeare’s work are similar to that of today.

    One challenge that I may face in the new text we are reading is the vocabulary. Shakespearean vocabulary can be quite different and therefore difficult to read.

    The ATL that could help me with this challenge is communication. If I see a word I do not know, I should look it up to help improve my vocabulary.

  3. The interaction between the conventional Shakespeare literature and our daily lives may seem peculiar to an extent that designates the disparity that each of them contains. Shakespeare’s literature advocates uniqueness and extravagance in areas of literature where few writers could perceive. Our daily life as so, contains plural amount of uniqueness and difference that we could hardly find anyone as parallel to ourselves. This depicts a theoretical relationship between how yielding Shakespeare’s literature shares with our daily lives. As for the practical or literal relationship that the literature ignites with our daily studying skills, I suppose it could relevantly modify and shape our English dexterities and destroy some of our thwarted difficulties in the language. Thus, reading Shakespeare’s literature would also help us to improve our understandings of complex text and gain varieties of skills in analyzing literature that doesn’t come in a simple format, but a multifarious one.

    The certainty of fear that I would face while reading the text would definitely be trying to apprehend the text. Writers like Shakespeare’s often use metaphors and variety of symbols that illustrates something in a complex way. Abiding from that, I also think being able to analyze the text is also another phobia I would have while learning about the text. The complexity of Shakespeare’s literature varies from just a simple dystopian literature where words and meanings mostly are being portrayed in literal forms.

    Being able to overcome my obstruction, which in this case is fear, would be a huge achievement that I would have done for this unit. I believe the approaches to learning (ATL) that best suits my impediment would be organizational skills and attitudes towards work. Because being able to understand and analyze the text mostly means that you need to have a positive habit towards studying and being able to smartly organize your time, this ATL mostly globalize my incident. Thus, the plural amount of effort or hard work that I will put because of my improvement in that ATL would definitely help me overcome my hampering apprehension.

  4. Studying Shakespeare makes students have many viewpoints and have a better understanding of feelings. Students aren’t just limited to only their own experience and perspective. They can learn about other situations and why the characters act the way they do. They learn about the same emotions we have today but in a different setting and time. They also learn about how emotions affect the choices that we make. They learn to sympathize with the characters and also others. Another thing studying Shakespeare gives to students is a wider range of vocabulary.

    The challenge I might face in this new text is understanding vocabulary. I don’t really know many unfamiliar words or words that aren’t commonly used everyday. In Shakespeare’s work, many archaic and difficult words are used. I might have a hard time reading and understanding the words.

    One Approach to Learning, that will help me in understanding the vocabularies used in Shakespeare’s novels, is communication. Communication will help me because it includes literacy. Literacy includes reading strategies and interpreting a range of content specific terminology. Reading strategies will help me understand the plot and the storyline better. Bu interpreting a range of terminology, I would be able to understand and interpret the old vocabs that Shakespeare used.

  5. By studying Shakespeare, the students get to acquire knowledge that is apart from the plot itself, such as the use of vocabularies. Since, the language they used in the play is unique, students get dig through the power of language that will help them as being readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and actors. Shakespeare plays allow students to explore and observe humans emotion both mentally and physically. This will teach them how to control over their own emotions. Other than that, Shakespeare also guides students to be open-minded and to view the world at different perspectives.
    The challenge that I might face as I’m reading this new text is probably vocabulary. According to my past experiences reading plays by Shakespeare, I found that the vocabularies are quite difficult to understand and it would certainly be hard for me when it I have to analyze the text.
    One Approach to Learning that will help me face the challenge is Communication. The reason why I think communication would be useful for me is because it will help me to do better with presenting ideas clearly and coherently in both writing and public speaking. As I said above, I struggle at analyzing, so by using this Approach to Learning, it will help with my analytical writing skills as well as selecting appropriate expression that suits with my context.

  6. I believe that Shakespeare’s knowledge of life are quite deep which are reflected in his plays, sonnets..etc. His themes such as fate, love, hate, jealousy, and more were all universal and appear in every human culture. Shakespeare also studied deeper questions such as how human character affects decisions and how decisions affect our fate and the people around us. While he was studying and writing about human nature, he also added variety into his text. Subjects such as politics, society values, wealth, death, and problems were seen in different texts. Shakespeare often used a problem that appeared in his text to relate to our societal values which made us think and question more on the values. I think that the questions that actually force us to think critically are actually good for us. Questions that could not be easily contrasted and appears to be in between are questions that would really challenge us as inquirers.

    Shakespeare emphasize feelings, according to the blog post, and this helps us to explore more about human emotion and even provide tips on how to control emotions. In here, we could see that Shakespearean texts are relevant to real life situations. When we often rush into things according to our emotions, and when we decide on important things without second thoughts, this could often lead to more events that could possibly affect our fate. For example, in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare shortened the length of the play to no more than a week to emphasize Juliet’s haste decisions. She also killed herself upon seeing her husband death beside her death bed in the tomb in a short time. This suggested that Shakespeare wanted to emphasize the fact of not making quick decisions and this relevant to real life because often, we make quick decisions based on our feelings. When a text could be related to real life situations, I think that we should study the text to give us more insight about life and we could learn from the mistakes of the characters in the texts.

    Although sometimes Shakespeare’s beliefs are different from our beliefs, just as the blog mentioned, we should “open doors” because “education is about opening doors.” This is the biggest idea that I support in the blog because we should, according to the IB learner profile, be open-minded. Being open-minded and opening doors to different ideas could help us to think in different perspectives and we could improve in thinking critically.

    My biggest challenge would probably be understanding the text. Since the text was written in a completely different era of ours, the texts contains meanings in lines or jokes that only the people of that time could get it. The words in the Shakespearean texts were sometimes challenging because I’m quite limited in Shakespearean vocabulary. This could encourage me to look up for the meaning and this is also another challenge for me since I’m not a fan of looking up words that I don’t know in dictionaries. Other challenges I would face is getting bored while going halfway into the text because of the things that I don’t understand as well as my inability to sometimes understand what the characters are going through.

    One approaches to learning that could help me to face this challenge is Information literacy. I believe that when I improve on my skills and interpreting the information that I’m reading using different things (library, media) to help me, I could understand more of the intense, happiness, or whatever kind of feelings that characters are going through. When I could know what they are going through, I could relate more to the society in values or problems. Understanding the society could therefore improve my ability in relating the texts that I’m reading to real life and I could come up with more ideas to solve challenges or problems in the society.

  7. By studying Shakespeare and his works it can help improve the range of vocabulary as well as historical and cultural knowledge of a student. Shakespeare uses rich language in his work which we can learn from and incorperate in to our future works. During his era he has revolutionized literature and made it more modern, which we can use to compare with nowadays literature. shakespeare’s work is still related with thing that happen today, which the student can relate to.

    The challenge i am going to face is the vocabulary, my vocabulary is not strong especially if it is shakespearean vocabulary. It is hard to read and will be hard for me to understand.

    The ATL that will help me with this challenge is communication. I will try to use and understand higher level vocabulary to help express my work and also have a vast range of vocabulary.

  8. The advantages of study Shakespeare is in many aspects. One thing for sure is the literature text (uncommon language and vocabulary) and especially its historical context. Reading Shakespeare’s work is like going back into the 16th century and learning about English culture and traditions back then through the plots of stories. From seeing a world that used to exist in that past allows us to be able to make connections and relate back to our modern society. We can learn a lot through comparing and contrasting issues in the past to the issues now. Despite the differences that we find, there are also similar human ‘things’ that remained ever since history until now that we can investigate and learn from. In conclusion, studying Shakespeare allows students to see differences and make connections with history and with their society.

    Common, modern English is very different from the English that Shakespeare used to write his plays. Vocabulary will be a challenging factor while studying Shakespeare’s works. Time differences equal society differences, therefore some references and slangs Shakespeare uses might be very unfamiliar to us today. This also includes similes and metaphors or other literary devices that might be used; meaningful if understood correctly, confusing if not.

    The one Approach to Learning that will help me face this challenge is Problem solving and thinking skills. I will definitely need to look up words and even research some phrases while studying The Tempest. This ATL includes the act of interpreting written information. This relates directly to when studying literature, because it is all about interpreting written information, which in this case is a play, by William Shakespeare. Meanings of metaphors, causes of a conflict in the plot, and more will have to be analyzed and interpreted carefully.

  9. Studying Shakespeare does not only help us understand the concepts of literature, but also our everyday lives. Shakespearean plays have also included characteristics of human beings and they can make us feel emotions while learning studying the literature. Different concepts of lives are shown within the Shakespearean stories and they can make us think out of the box. Students gain insights by studying Shakespeare by exploring human feelings approaching a wider range of vocabularies. Shakespearean vocabularies are challenging so by studying Shakespeare, we will automatically learn more vocabularies. Having a wider vocabulary range is an advantage because in later years of school, this will help us in understanding literature more clearly. Another reason why studying Shakespeare is advantageous because it reflects about history and the older days.

    The main challenge I see is the ability to understand and comprehend the text. As I have known, Shakespeare used complicated and abstruse vocabularies which contributes in making the text difficult to understand.The language back then and the language today is different in many ways so reading Shakespeare can be a big challenge. Understanding the concepts the text is representing might be another challenge for me, although I consider the vocabularies and language as the main challenge for this unit.

    An approach to learning that would help me is Information literacy, especially note taking. I will take notes or annotate while reading because it helps me understand better afterwards. Dealing with difficult vocabularies, note taking will help because I will simplify the ideas or concepts into my own words where I understand better. Annotations or notes that I made will help me understand the text more than the actual text itself.

  10. William Shakespeare is one of the most brilliant English play writers of all time. The plot of all plays remain are a universal theme, people can still relate and admissible in the today’s world. His works are timeless. The use of language and expression are very beautiful and are hidden with allegory. Not only does it teach us new vocabularies (which some of them, was invented by him), but also we’d be exposed to the beauty of rhythmic and rhymes. It gave us the capacity to gain more understanding of the art of language and wordings. Within the texts, he often relates it to the real world, causes us to think twice – it affects human’s emotions to act differently. Each word within his work has its own identity, a specific meaning to it. His works not only contain beautiful words, but entertaining as well. What makes Shakespeare different from other play writers are that his work are very simple, yet those simple words say a thousand more.

    The most apparent challenge of Shakespeare texts for me would be the vocabularies. During his time in the Elizabethan Era, the use of words are quite different than the modern day words, therefore, it would take time for me to translate out the meaning. The difference between the modern time period and the 16th century causes difficulties with the unfamiliar words and comparisons. But the real challenge, in my opinion, is being able analyze Shakespeare’s work, and being able to identify the ‘hidden treasure’ and spot the patterns that he included in his work.

    Falling under ATL, Information and literacy, in my opinion, suits this Unit best. The ability to read and write the information doesn’t stop at the I-can-write-and-read, it extends to being able to dig deeper and understand each word well. After searching the meaning for each word/phrase, the text would be analyzed and differently from my perspective. It gave me the opportunity to depict the text by using my perspective. Being able to know complex vocabularies are a benefit to my writing, I can minimize my writing by finding the perfect word to describe something.

  11. The greatness of Shakespeare isn’t to be doubted, even through time. The thoughts he puts into his work are always timeless and universal. Shakespearean works also educate the readers beyond the play’s plot. At times it may relate out to the historical context of the play, or reach into the inner depths of human feelings. It can also contribute to the maturation of one’s feelings and emotions. Also, in every work of Shakespeare, there are interesting vocabulary to be learnt, some used only in his time, or some being very advanced intellectual terms. Shakespeare also allows the reader to view the world from the different characters’ lenses, which may or may not be different from the reader’s culture.
    The biggest challenge is to basically understand Shakespeare’s piece of genius. Part of it would be his vocabulary. Some of them existed when Elizabeth I was the Queen, and are not used anymore in the 21st century. Sometimes, although many symbols are universal, the occasional local symbols may appear, and without proper prior knowledge to the context, it may be a good challenge for me. Conclusively though, it is about the main picture of getting the most from a piece of genius.
    I think the ability to use the ATL of Organisation Skills and Attitudes Towards Work would be essential for this Unit. As Shakespeare works are not children books, they can not be understood clearly the first time around. It is important that I manage my time wisely enough to allow me time to analyse the work. Since it will be a very hard Unit, it is vital that I persevere on understanding this piece of genius. And that is achievable if I can organise, whilst halving a good working attitude.

  12. There are many advantages of studying Shakespeare, considering that Shakespeare uses a wide range of vocabulary and his works would include metaphors, symbols, etc., meaning that it allow readers to think deeply by make connections. As mentioned, students will improve of their skills of connecting things together (critical thinking) throughout the play, and without any doubt, they will gain another set vocabularies, for which they can add upon their old ones.
    For this Unit of reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the thing that I see as a challenge is Shakespeare range of vocabularies. To add upon my challenge of studying Shakespeare’s, because of the fact that we lived in different generations – the present days and the Elizabethan Era – our ways of talking is virtually different, meaning that I will have to face vocabularies that are not commonly use nowadays.
    The Approach to Learning of “Problem solving and thinking skills” will help me in terms of facing the challenge. Since one of the challenges is being able to make connections in Shakespeare’s play, the “interpret written information” that falls under the ATL would help me. The reason why I chose this ATL is because of the fact that there are times when my thinking is not as deep as it should be (touching/passing the surface), and this is one of the skills that I would like to improve on.

  13. Shakespeare is a poet known and studied throughout the world, and there is a reason. Studying Shakespearen works has many advantages, and readers can learn further using the the plot of his works. Shakespeare works incorporate timeless themes, much like the ones discussed in class. Although it may come in varied forms in different time periods, universal themes such as love, hate, awe, anger, jealousy or fear are kept in his works and can be applied to the every time period including the present. Shakespearean works can motivate readers to research and know more than the plot – whether it is the vocabulary and use of language or historical context of the plays. He is able to relate the readers’ emotions with his literature creating sympathy with the play’s characters and conflicts and therefore using his literature to explore our own emotions. Studying Shakespeare helps the readers make connnection to his works through the plot, language, or themes and most of all using this connection to learn from his works.
    The challenges that I will face in this would be comprehending the text and understanding the historical behind it after comprehension. The text involves a lot of vocabulary not common for this my generation and for me, and understanding it would require constant,
    research. However, comprehension alone would not be analyzing the text and truly understanding it. The historical context would also be a challenge to understand the symbols and other figurative language. I should be able to overcome these challenges eventually with enough research and motivation from the text. After that, I will have learned from the challenge.
    The Approaches to Learning skill that would be useful for the challenge is conserving from different viewpoints from problem solving and thinking skills. If I want to successfully understand the language and content of Shakespearean plays, I would need to know the historical context. Considering the text from my viewpoint alone would not suffice because the play is written in a different era and thinking from many viewpoints would help me understand what Shakespeare was trying to convey better.

  14. Studying Shakespeare does not only allow students to witness art through his unique way of writing literature, it allows us to think. By thinking, we learn. Shakespeare lived around 500 years ago, by then everything was different. By studying pieces like this, we subconsciously relate and make connection; why was their society the way it was and why is the one we live in the way it is? We can say Shakespeare’s work lack realism, but that’s what makes it so interesting to look forward to. Through his plots, there are always a universal context we can learn from; and all these context are timeless. 500 years later, most of the themes from Shakespeare still exists today. Why even question when we can see that Shakespeare have become so universal? During his time, Shakespeare was creating history. Now, his work stays; even after 500 years it stays immortal. It is said that what’s so great about Shakespeare is that it is presentable through any emotions, in whatever time period. For example, the play Romeo and Juliet have been remade countless times. But in each film, directors have different viewpoints of his words, thus created their own interpretation of it. In the end, everything still makes sense. By studying his works, we can experience wide variety of vocabulary, and how he plays with words. Through these words he use, according to different people it could mean different thing. It is so flexible to read, and that is why it has always been able to adapt to different society people live in.
    A problem I will definitely face is the use of the old vocabulary, as well as having to relate the current historical content to the text. The first step is to be able to comprehend and interpret the meaning of words, but we must also know the historical background to under his usage of stylistic devices. What’s beautiful the day before may not be beautiful today since things always changes, thus we must know what was the society like in his time.
    The ATL I can use is research and investigation skills. I must investigate how Shakespeare plays with his wordings, those word can create much more than it seems. After being able to gasp the content of his words, I must research. Research about why he wrote the passage the way it is written, and research about the historical background of his plays. Researching allow us to know beyond what we do, and that’s what Shakespeare is all about. He’s written so much that we can’t even finish it in years, but his ideas through a year worth of word can let out information even much much more.

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