Recreating the Globe in the Shakespeare Classroom: Performing Audience to Engage Learners
A teacher of Shakespeare in a large public urban university often encounters students poorly equipped to understand the plays. Many students are non-native English speakers. Many others have spent much of their time watching television. For such students the common lecture-discussion classroom is ineffective because it reenacts a passive, consumer-oriented model of learning. A different pedagogical model, drawn from Shakespeare’s own theater, can open Shakespeare’s plays for the students and open the students to a more active, engaged mode of learning. Such a classroom becomes a mini-Globe, where some students perform roles from the plays, and the rest perform roles as audience members based on historical understanding of the lives of Shakespeare’s audience. Rather than passive consumers of information, students become active responders to issues, ideas, and identities performed in the plays.
Keywords: Shakespeare, Performance Pedagogy, Literature for Non-native Speakers
Dr. Bruce Avery
Associate Professor, Department of English, San Francisco State University