BTW, here is a good lesson about Shakespeare Horrible Histories William Shakespeare Song - YouTube
Hated shakespeare when I was at school, could not see the point of any of it. Try to do a day at work and communicate just like the tosspot and see how long it takes to get a smack in the face.
Im sure there are some things within Harry potter or LOTR that students can be interested in that can be used to teach with, it will tie in nicely with the termly 'dont plan a lesson just show them a video'.
As Helen Mirren said recently (and has said before), forcing kids to read Shakespeare is pretty well guaranteed to put most of them off. Especially if it's being taught by someone with no empathy, understanding or connection to the plays. Having read, watched, performed and directed Shakespeare (pretentious little sod, ain't I), I'm quite happy that the plays are bloody amazing, the language is a piece of cake and the stories flow like a dream. BUT, if you suffered under some poor sod who had to try and force an understanding of the texts into a relentless sequence of teens over an interminable number of years, with any interest s/he might have had in the task atrophied to nothing under the yawning disinterest of said teens, then it's not surprising nothing connected.
Some kids will connect, though. Like my daughter, all by herself. Which is great.
Shakespeare is too dependent on the teacher teaching it and I am OK with it staying out of the syllabus until A level
But such books as TKAMB are well loved - my 25 year-old did it at school and although he doesnt read much except thrillers now, he remembers it with fondness. And his girlfriend loved OMAM
Dickens can be great - Oliver Twist brings in all sort of concepts and can be used to spark discussions about child labour, workhouses, and all sorts - but some Dickens is not at all relevant for young people today and very hard for them to get a lot out of.
It is the sweeping statements that upset everyone - why should we only study British texts? What advantage or relevance does that have in the real world?
On that basis I'd argue Great Expectations introduces some decent talking points as well; particularly in areas of the country where the class divide is more pronounced than others, for example. Though I'm not sure it's considered "done" to actually talk about that to the kids who can be very much subject to it!
Having listened to an interview with the guy who actually formulated the concept on PM yesterday, wasn't entirely surprised to discover that the whole "it's Michael Gove's fault and he hates <x>" wasn't the case at all. The core of the policy is that teachers can choose to teach books they want to teach, within the constraints given as to period and type. Professor Bate's (or it might have been Bale) suggested replacement for the "modern" strand represented by Harper Lee and Steinbeck was Zadie Smith's White Teeth, on the basis that books from the first half of the last century aren't actually that relevant to kids' experience. Which is fair enough, really. We did Steinbeck 40 years ago, and it felt archaic then. Mind you, I was more into Larry Niven and JG Ballard and John Wyndham and Michael Moorcock and...
I was personally gutted to hear this because I read To Kill a Mockingbird at school and it's still one of my favourite books - I think there's some really important themes in it and it's still really relevant today (particularly the stuff about prejudice).
Fortunately, possibly due to the virtues of being educated in Scotland, Shakespeare and alike were only a requirement if you took Higher English (A-Levels?)
As I only took Standard Grade (GCSE) it wasn't - though it was touched on.
I had a right good mix of book and subjects during school and have grown up to love reading.
We had a Recommended reading list that included a range of genres ( I recall "The Hobbit" and "The Colour Of Magic / Light Fantastic" being on them)
I think if I had had the "classics" forced on me I wouldn't have the love for books that I do now, and my grasp of spelling, grammar, and punctuation* would be terrible.
*Note the use of the "Oxford Comma" there
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