Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brush up your Shakespeare

A souvenir remembering Shakespeare this year 
Reinstating Shakespeare in the English curriculum from next year came as good news at least to me. I positively hope children will enjoy it as much as I did in my schooling. May be the gods are with us because this year the bard is celebrated around the world and the playwright’s home town this year has seen thousands of visitors from around the world. This is the popularity of William Shakespeare and this year the world celebrates his 400th death anniversary. 

William Shakespeare's known portrait 
When it was removed I was in my 1st year in college and I was not in favor of this move and it broke my heart. May be the all-knowing people who thought of changing the English curriculum then, were too naïve to think out of the box-"Lord, what fools these mortals be." This is midsummer madness.

Shakespeare’s plays have everything we need to learn in literature. This obvious reason must have skipped from the minds of the curriculum saints back then. Of course the language written dates to the Renaissance England. Shakespeare plays to me is " I am one who loved not wisely but too well"-Othello.

However, after one and half decade of teaching the so called ‘modern curriculum’, people must have realized we are going awry somewhere with the English delivery in the classrooms. With this not so modern curriculum, I raised up an issue sometime in 2008. The contents and the activities although modern, dictionaries were provided obsolete with archaic words. This still happens in schools. The text is new and the words are new. Dictionaries provided are some 18th or 19th imprint dating back to 70’s. Of course one need not rely on the dictionaries these days with the internet. Retention is the proceeds that we expect from children after teaching and learning. Learning by doing is so fundamental for children to keep their learning retained for a longer period of time and there is a charm to it. Today with internet how many of our children learn academically. Instead I see children fond of online games and songs, adults included sadly.
Google Images

Children may find William Shakespeare alien but believe me, after they have gone through his plays I am sure they will begin to like and love him. Such is the appeal of literature to its readers. I am very sure the working committee of this move would like to begin with some romantic comedies rather than the fierce tragedies. I don’t know how you all across the country might take it but I am definitely overjoyed with the news. I feel there will be some real literature in our classrooms. I am euphoric. This is surely coming of better days.

Come next year, literature in higher classes will have some spice and good luck to you English teachers. Will you brush up your Shakespeare? I am sure you will. I also know it's easier said than done but "If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottage princes’ palaces." -The Merchant of Venice. 

Until Shakespeare comes next year, "To thine own self be true"-Hamlet.