Reflection: Shakespeare as a Mirror of Life and Literature
I hope that my discussion of how I motivate students to love learning in general, and Shakespeare in particular, proves illuminating to new teachers, especially, and to any teacher who finds it helpful. I approach teaching and learning with the conviction that it is a way of looking at life and refining who we are and how we behave as humanistic participants in society. Thus, in our study of Shakespeare, as with everything that we do in my classroom, I want my students to learn, to see, to be, and to develop "sharp and critical minds," as reading expert Judith Langer characterizes it. As viewers watch the first video of my classroom where students begin their study of this complex literary work, I want them to notice the strategies and approaches for engaging students in reading, not only the text, but the world. Our district's vision statement is mine as well.
All chidren can learn. Moreover, I extend that idea in my classroom to the philosophy that all children will learn. Viewers will see a plethora of methods for engaging students in scholary discourse; they engage in "whip-arounds and grand conversations". They collaborate and cooperate in pair-shares, small groups, reader's theatre, group performances, quick-writes, think alouds, questioning, and playing. These are all ways of making meaning of literature and exploring universal human concerns, values, and themes, but most importantly, always, always, giving voice to their own ideas and gaining, I hope, a lifelong appreciation, not just of the works of Shakespeare, but of learning itself.
Also see: Ann Lieberman's interview questions