Recreating the Globe in the Shakespeare Classroom: Performing Audience to Engage Learners

Dr. Bruce Avery
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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
Stream: Audiences, Arts Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Bruce Avery

Associate Professor, Department of English, San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA, USA

I did graduate work in Shakespeare with Harry Berger, Jr. at the University of California at Santa Cruz, receiving my PhD there in 1992. I have been teaching Shakespeare and other literature for twenty years, the last twelve at San Francisco State. I developed an interest in pedagogy as my classes began to enroll an increasing number of non-native English speakers and I watched their increasing frustration with complex literary texts. The initial success of my turn to performance-based pedagogy led me to an exploration of Elizabethan theatrical practice and audience, which is the focus of my current research.

Ref: A06P0440