May 9, 2017
Shakespeare has become an iconic figure and focal point for an excessive period in many high school English classes. He is one of the biggest topics in English class, and one of the most dreaded subjects for students. The reason being, William Shakespeare is overemphasized and mishandled in modern day education.
I believe a huge reason some students end up disliking Shakespeare is because they may dislike playing a role or acting in class. Teachers commonly force students out of their comfort zones and force them to participate in something they are uncomfortable with or just don’t like doing. High school students are at a stressful point in life, and anxiety has become a common trait in society today. Forcing a student into something they dislike, such as acting in a play in class, can lead to stress for the student. The student may dread going to class so much they may be absent more. Not to mention students may be bullied for their performance, or the entire play can be derailed because some students don’t put in the effort to act out the play or are uncomfortable acting it out. It isn’t realistic to expect every student to act out one of more scenes from every play they are forced to study (Blocksidge 4).
Martin Blocksidge stated in Shakespeare in Education, there is danger in the classroom of people forgetting what drama really is (Blocksidge 4). Without the entire classroom’s participation and desire to act out the play, it becomes a text being read aloud. The meaning of the play is taken away from when it becomes people just reading lines from a textbook in their seats. Plays are not meant to be read, but acted out. A full appreciation for Shakespeare’s plays should be through acting (Blocksidge 7-8). This was typical in my high school classes. I got high marks on all my Shakespeare tests, but I never enjoyed them because it just felt like there wasn’t anything special about them. That’s why I believe that because English class is a mandatory class there should be less of Shakespeare’s plays since most students don’t want to act them out. A new class or addition to drama class could be about Shakespeare’s plays for the students who want to act them out.
Shakespeare takes up a large portion of the English curriculum. Covering one of his works every year for four years in high school can easily add up to an entire year of high school spent on just Shakespeare. My classes spent at least five weeks on Shakespeare, if not more after doing the tests and papers on the story, every year. My classes were also eighty minutes long and spaced out every other day, or every day for half the year. Some schools even devote as much as a third of their syllabus to Shakespeare throughout the last three years of high school (Blocksidge 2). The reading portion of Shakespeare’s stories can take weeks, and if it is a play it can take even longer acting it out. Watching the film version of the story or play ...