Shakespeare Seminar and Film Series 2

Shakespeare Seminar & Film Series 1 English textbook

Part I Socratic Method of teaching and learning (Ch. 1-4) define, illustrates;, and demonstrates how to implement Socratic Seminars.

Part II Tragedies: Are HAMLET and OTHELLO victims of their own insecurities? (Ch. 5-7).

Part III Comedies: In MEASURE FOR MEASURE, has Vincentio dealt out justice for all? In AS YOU LIKE IT, how seriously does Shakespeare want us to take the metaphor “all the world’s a stage and we merely players”? In THE TEMPEST, which one of the four alliances to destroy Prospero is the most odious?

Part IV: Problem play: Does so much misfortune befall Shylock in THE MERCHANT because he brings it upon himself? (Ch. 8-11).

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Everything in these exercises is based on the assumption that college level English students, not teachers, are the primary agents in learning. The corollary is that authentic learning is active learning. The consequence is that students must become responsible for their own learning.

What makes this series of seminars on Shakespeare unlike so many other books on the ultimate author of English literature? Several things. My fond hope is that this book will, first, help teachers of the next generation develop skills of independent, reflective, and critical thinking because I know that authentic learning begins only when teachers challenge students with real questions (problems about meaning) that demand solutions.

Second, I also believe that a person can acquire a life-long education from reading the works of Shakespeare--the ultimate English author who invented our sense of the human, according to Harold Bloom. As a result, careful, thoughtful, reading and rereading and meditation on these plays can become formative of values in our personal lives.

Third, the focus of this first of two books is on the text of two tragedies and two comedies, a romance, and a history and what the individual is able to draw from them alone. I am not concerned with what expert critics think these plays are about since such an enormous amount of this criticism has already been published. However, I do give those students interested follow-up research topics for independent study at the end of each play.

Since these plays were meant to be seen, not merely read, the book explains how to use film to bring Shakespeare to life through comparison-contrast discussion and writing.

Finally, whenever possible, I use several film versions of these plays to make them more accessible to today's students who are so visual. Since a film is itself an interpretation, this teaching series also explains how to use film to bring some of these plays to life through comparison-contrast discussion, writing, and research on current events. Together, may we continue to help our students to “educate their imaginations” (Northrup Frey) through active and close reading and habitual writing. In short, may we enable them to become life-long learners.

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Teacher Supplement is now available!

Pick up the the teacher supplement for this book! You will find the sixty-five page SHAKESPEARE Series 2 Teacher Supplement quite useful because it has the answer keys to the plot quizzes and essay exams for all six plays. It also has helpful suggestions on implementing the lesson plans and suggestions that will help students to complete the Journal Assignments and Research Topics for Independent Study. The Appendix of supplementary readings on Shakespeare’s life as a poet provides material for additional discussions.

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