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English and Shakespeare

DebateGirl221
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7/25/2013 4:25:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
First of all, to make things clear, I am posting this on behalf of my best friend, Abby. She tends to ask this often : " Why do we bother to study Shakespeare in English? It makes no sense".

All I need is are a few quotes from some fellow debaters to answer her question(she doesn't listen to me :P)
ClassicRobert
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7/25/2013 7:25:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
We study Shakespeare for critical thinking skills. His plays are written in his own form of English, with his own linguistic, grammatical and syntactical structure, so it isn't exactly easy to understand at first glance. This is good, because it forces us to analyze the contexts in order to actually understand what is going on, which is good critical thinking practice.
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USAPitBull63
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7/25/2013 7:50:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
One reason is because...

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts[....]"

https://www.google.com...

It's a start. If that doesn't work, tell your friend to wait 10 years, then (s)he'll figure it out.
Cowboy0108
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7/26/2013 6:46:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree, Shakespeare is pointless. When a person reads a business letter, it is not in Shakesperean language. When a person researches, the material is not written in Shakesperean language. Many people say that Shakespeare builds critical thinking skills, and while it may, many students find it extremely difficult, and often, refuse to do the work. English teachers should either give an option between research and Shakespeare or just assign research. The research would allow the students to build real life researching skills, learn about the topic they are researching, and build writing skills which are virtually nonexistent in many of the American youth.
Fractals
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7/31/2013 4:43:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/25/2013 4:25:50 AM, DebateGirl221 wrote:
First of all, to make things clear, I am posting this on behalf of my best friend, Abby. She tends to ask this often : " Why do we bother to study Shakespeare in English? It makes no sense".

All I need is are a few quotes from some fellow debaters to answer her question(she doesn't listen to me :P)

The general goal of studying Shakespeare is his craftmanship. It's generally less about the particular story used, and more bout how he structures word and verse usage to achieve an effect. Yes a lot of his stuff is thematically outdated, but that's not the point. It's about how he creates the desired emotional and story impact through act, verse, line and word usage. What he does, is technically of a very high order of skill, and that's the point of studying him.
thett3
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8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)
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darkkermit
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8/2/2013 7:18:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM, thett3 wrote:
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)

considering that most people don't go on homocidal rampages, I don't think its exactly a great understanding of the human condition. Perhaps you can dismantle some sort of psychology in it, but you'll also get a bunch of false information from it, and you're much better off reading a book on behavior economics, or psychology if you want to understand the human condition.
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thett3
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8/2/2013 7:24:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 7:18:38 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM, thett3 wrote:
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)

considering that most people don't go on homocidal rampages, I don't think its exactly a great understanding of the human condition. Perhaps you can dismantle some sort of psychology in it, but you'll also get a bunch of false information from it, and you're much better off reading a book on behavior economics, or psychology if you want to understand the human condition.

If you think trying to get kids to read Shakespeare is hard, just wait until you hand them a text like that. I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it. True, we likely aren't going to need advice on how to handle the obligation to kill our fathers murderer who happens to be the king, but we can observe the effects of Hamlet's obsession and procrastination on his mental condition, and to me that leaves a far more powerful impression than anything I learned in AP Psych or Econ ever did
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
darkkermit
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8/2/2013 8:03:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 7:24:10 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:18:38 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM, thett3 wrote:
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)

considering that most people don't go on homocidal rampages, I don't think its exactly a great understanding of the human condition. Perhaps you can dismantle some sort of psychology in it, but you'll also get a bunch of false information from it, and you're much better off reading a book on behavior economics, or psychology if you want to understand the human condition.

If you think trying to get kids to read Shakespeare is hard, just wait until you hand them a text like that.

Not really. Shakespeare using a prose and language style that is unusual and difficult to read for modern day readers. While books on behavior economics and psychology are actually designed either to teach the material clearly (in the case of textbooks) or to get readers (in the case of non-fiction books that are sold). Thinking Fast and Slow is a book on behavior economics is still on the top 100 bestseller books and was published in 2011.

I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it.

Doubt it. School curriculum isn't exactly based on efficiency and optimization so that students are prepared for the real world and become socially conscious. So when asking the question of why a certain thing or subject is taught, the answer is unlikely to prepare people for the real world or make them moral citizens. Or at the very least, not do it in the optimal way. Instead, its likely based on tradition, and it remains so that teachers will remained employed and won't have to learn or update any new skills.

True, we likely aren't going to need advice on how to handle the obligation to kill our fathers murderer who happens to be the king, but we can observe the effects of Hamlet's obsession and procrastination on his mental condition, and to me that leaves a far more powerful impression than anything I learned in AP Psych or Econ ever did

Point is that the psychological effects that Hamlet received and how he responded to them is unlikely to be true, and certainly wouldn't be the same for everyone, and certainly wouldn't be the same outcome. Shakespeare was a writer, not a psychologist or economist, and didn't have a full grasp of our understanding of these subjects as we have today.
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thett3
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8/2/2013 10:07:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 8:03:27 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:24:10 PM, thett3 wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:18:38 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM, thett3 wrote:
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)

considering that most people don't go on homocidal rampages, I don't think its exactly a great understanding of the human condition. Perhaps you can dismantle some sort of psychology in it, but you'll also get a bunch of false information from it, and you're much better off reading a book on behavior economics, or psychology if you want to understand the human condition.

If you think trying to get kids to read Shakespeare is hard, just wait until you hand them a text like that.

Not really. Shakespeare using a prose and language style that is unusual and difficult to read for modern day readers. While books on behavior economics and psychology are actually designed either to teach the material clearly (in the case of textbooks) or to get readers (in the case of non-fiction books that are sold).

I'm not trying to argue that they're unreadable, I'm arguing that kids are less likely to read them because most text books are incredibly boring--it isnt what they're intended to do, but rather what they actually do-bore most lazy high school students to sleep. I think I didn't really state my argument well enough to begin with, Shakespeare understood the human condition and his stories were amazing and its because of this that his stories should be read in English class (the OP). You could argue that English classes shouldnt exist, but they do.

Thinking Fast and Slow is a book on behavior economics is still on the top 100 bestseller books and was published in 2011.

Granted


I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it.

Doubt it. School curriculum isn't exactly based on efficiency and optimization so that students are prepared for the real world and become socially conscious. So when asking the question of why a certain thing or subject is taught, the answer is unlikely to prepare people for the real world or make them moral citizens. Or at the very least, not do it in the optimal way. Instead, its likely based on tradition, and it remains so that teachers will remained employed and won't have to learn or update any new skills.

I agree but that doesnt refute the argument that reading fiction can still be useful, even if the way class time is utilized isnt always ideal.

True, we likely aren't going to need advice on how to handle the obligation to kill our fathers murderer who happens to be the king, but we can observe the effects of Hamlet's obsession and procrastination on his mental condition, and to me that leaves a far more powerful impression than anything I learned in AP Psych or Econ ever did

Point is that the psychological effects that Hamlet received and how he responded to them is unlikely to be true, and certainly wouldn't be the same for everyone, and certainly wouldn't be the same outcome.

Careful there...psychology is as soft a science as they come, I doubt you can just claim that what happened to Hamlet would *never* happen. It isnt supposed to illustrate what happens to everyone or would happen, its about a specific man and we get an amazing glimpse into his mind. That is where Shakespeare is powerful

Shakespeare was a writer, not a psychologist or economist, and didn't have a full grasp of our understanding of these subjects as we have today.
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"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
darkkermit
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8/2/2013 10:49:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 10:07:13 PM, thett3 wrote:

I'm not trying to argue that they're unreadable, I'm arguing that kids are less likely to read them because most text books are incredibly boring--it isnt what they're intended to do, but rather what they actually do-bore most lazy high school students to sleep. I think I didn't really state my argument well enough to begin with, Shakespeare understood the human condition and his stories were amazing and its because of this that his stories should be read in English class (the OP). You could argue that English classes shouldnt exist, but they do.

I'd say that Shakespeare is a lot more boring then the textbooks and books I described. And you do realize that people have to read textbooks in high school. Non-fiction if done properly is supposed to be interesting. It combines both elements of narrative and story telling and facts and information.

Thinking Fast and Slow is a book on behavior economics is still on the top 100 bestseller books and was published in 2011.

Granted


I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it.

Doubt it. School curriculum isn't exactly based on efficiency and optimization so that students are prepared for the real world and become socially conscious. So when asking the question of why a certain thing or subject is taught, the answer is unlikely to prepare people for the real world or make them moral citizens. Or at the very least, not do it in the optimal way. Instead, its likely based on tradition, and it remains so that teachers will remained employed and won't have to learn or update any new skills.

I agree but that doesnt refute the argument that reading fiction can still be useful, even if the way class time is utilized isnt always ideal.

lol, your argument was anecdotal. There's nothing to refute.

Careful there...psychology is as soft a science as they come, I doubt you can just claim that what happened to Hamlet would *never* happen. It isnt supposed to illustrate what happens to everyone or would happen, its about a specific man and we get an amazing glimpse into his mind. That is where Shakespeare is powerful

Some parts of psychology are hard, some are soft. It all depends on what areas your studying. I'd say the studies on Ash conformity experiment and Miligram's experiment have very powerful insights. Information in social psychology has some very strong predictive powers and evolutionary psychology roots to it. In-group vs. Out-group is a very powerful theory. Furthermore, behavior psychology and neruopsychology are pretty hard science fiends. This and behavior economics.
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thett3
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8/2/2013 10:54:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 10:49:20 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 10:07:13 PM, thett3 wrote:

I'm not trying to argue that they're unreadable, I'm arguing that kids are less likely to read them because most text books are incredibly boring--it isnt what they're intended to do, but rather what they actually do-bore most lazy high school students to sleep. I think I didn't really state my argument well enough to begin with, Shakespeare understood the human condition and his stories were amazing and its because of this that his stories should be read in English class (the OP). You could argue that English classes shouldnt exist, but they do.

I'd say that Shakespeare is a lot more boring then the textbooks and books I described. And you do realize that people have to read textbooks in high school. Non-fiction if done properly is supposed to be interesting. It combines both elements of narrative and story telling and facts and information.

I know that, but it will never accomplish the level of writing Shakesp

Thinking Fast and Slow is a book on behavior economics is still on the top 100 bestseller books and was published in 2011.

Granted


I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it.

Doubt it. School curriculum isn't exactly based on efficiency and optimization so that students are prepared for the real world and become socially conscious. So when asking the question of why a certain thing or subject is taught, the answer is unlikely to prepare people for the real world or make them moral citizens. Or at the very least, not do it in the optimal way. Instead, its likely based on tradition, and it remains so that teachers will remained employed and won't have to learn or update any new skills.

I agree but that doesnt refute the argument that reading fiction can still be useful, even if the way class time is utilized isnt always ideal.

lol, your argument was anecdotal. There's nothing to refute.

I prefaced it by saying it was anecdotal because I didn't have any statistics or anything on it, not because I didn't think it was true. You can't honestly be arguing that fiction is never useful



Careful there...psychology is as soft a science as they come, I doubt you can just claim that what happened to Hamlet would *never* happen. It isnt supposed to illustrate what happens to everyone or would happen, its about a specific man and we get an amazing glimpse into his mind. That is where Shakespeare is powerful

Some parts of psychology are hard, some are soft. It all depends on what areas your studying. I'd say the studies on Ash conformity experiment and Miligram's experiment have very powerful insights. Information in social psychology has some very strong predictive powers and evolutionary psychology roots to it. In-group vs. Out-group is a very powerful theory. Furthermore, behavior psychology and neruopsychology are pretty hard science fiends. This and behavior economics.

Those are all things to learn in Psychology or Economics class, not English. Your argument is against English class (and its pretty hard to argue with, English class as its usually done is really really dumb). I'm not saying reading Shakespeare is better than taking a Pysch class for understanding the human mind...I'm saying reading Shakespeare is better than most other books for getting a glimpse into the mind along with whatever other benefits English class supposedly gives you (which are...not very clear to me)
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
000ike
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8/2/2013 10:58:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 7:14:37 PM, thett3 wrote:
Shakespeare had a great understanding of the human condition, as anyone reading his plays will understand. Especially in Macbeth and Hamlet. Plus, once you slog through them you understand videos like this :)

"the human condition".... what's an understanding of "the human condition". Sounds like the vague crap people use to justify academic pedantries. There is no such thing as understanding of "the human condition". He was a good writer, clever - but his plays are just stories that are of literally 0 worth to someone not studying writing techniques and not looking for entertainment.
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thett3
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8/2/2013 10:58:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 10:49:20 PM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/2/2013 10:07:13 PM, thett3 wrote:

I'm not trying to argue that they're unreadable, I'm arguing that kids are less likely to read them because most text books are incredibly boring--it isnt what they're intended to do, but rather what they actually do-bore most lazy high school students to sleep. I think I didn't really state my argument well enough to begin with, Shakespeare understood the human condition and his stories were amazing and its because of this that his stories should be read in English class (the OP). You could argue that English classes shouldnt exist, but they do.

I'd say that Shakespeare is a lot more boring then the textbooks and books I described. And you do realize that people have to read textbooks in high school. Non-fiction if done properly is supposed to be interesting. It combines both elements of narrative and story telling and facts and information.

Thinking Fast and Slow is a book on behavior economics is still on the top 100 bestseller books and was published in 2011.

Granted


I would also disagree with you on anecdotal grounds (yeah, I know bad argument) that people I've observed often learn lessons far more from fiction and seeing them actually acted out than from reading dry textbooks. There's probably some studies out there but I'm far too lazy to search for it.

Doubt it. School curriculum isn't exactly based on efficiency and optimization so that students are prepared for the real world and become socially conscious. So when asking the question of why a certain thing or subject is taught, the answer is unlikely to prepare people for the real world or make them moral citizens. Or at the very least, not do it in the optimal way. Instead, its likely based on tradition, and it remains so that teachers will remained employed and won't have to learn or update any new skills.

I agree but that doesnt refute the argument that reading fiction can still be useful, even if the way class time is utilized isnt always ideal.

lol, your argument was anecdotal. There's nothing to refute.


Careful there...psychology is as soft a science as they come, I doubt you can just claim that what happened to Hamlet would *never* happen. It isnt supposed to illustrate what happens to everyone or would happen, its about a specific man and we get an amazing glimpse into his mind. That is where Shakespeare is powerful

Some parts of psychology are hard, some are soft. It all depends on what areas your studying. I'd say the studies on Ash conformity experiment and Miligram's experiment have very powerful insights. Information in social psychology has some very strong predictive powers and evolutionary psychology roots to it. In-group vs. Out-group is a very powerful theory. Furthermore, behavior psychology and neruopsychology are pretty hard science fiends. This and behavior economics.

Come to think of it, how do schools even justify English classes? Especially when the US is falling so far behind in STEM...
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
DetectableNinja
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8/2/2013 11:05:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I dunno. I think there's something somewhat ineffable about English classes (specifically literature classes) that is vital to creating a well-rounded person. Of course, there are the overt benefits of critical thinking, etc. But there's also a part of literature that gets people thinking on a much more abstract level, a part that raises questions about who we are as human beings, how we can/do/should interact with one another, how we should interact on the level of a society, etc.
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I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
darkkermit
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8/2/2013 11:17:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
There are benefits to learning critical reading skills and writing skills. However, those skills can be and are learned in the non-english classes (Ex: History and Science).

The justification for keeping english classes is that you'd have to layoff a bunch of english teachers, and that would piss the teacher unions, so deal with it.
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Logic_on_rails
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8/3/2013 12:17:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The study of Shakespeare in English classes is a bit dated, but it's not useless. Shakespeare's plays have interesting lessons to learn. Does that mean we should keep his plays as part of a curriculum? No. We ought to substitute Shakespearean plays for more modern texts like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There are quality fictional texts that can do the job of Shakespeare far better. As to the texts chosen, we ought to use Graham Greene's distinction of novels and entertainment in choosing the texts. One should choose literary novels.

I'm against the teaching of Shakespeare in English for the most part due to better alternatives existing. That's not to say that the study of Shakespeare can't be helpful though. I'm aghast at the mention of eliminating English classes though.

Firstly, you can't get rid of English classes (or at least, not in NSW's education system) . I know I'm talking to Americans here, but my curriculum adjusts marks for subjects through a 'scaling' process. To scale all subjects one must have a common subject. Short of finding another mandatory subject, English must stay.

I think that English isn't as well structured as it could be. I have a long list of criticisms at the ready. I could also talk about the virtues of English classes for quite awhile. Suffice to say, many in this thread probably undervalue the teachings of English - it's a merit good of sorts - and many in this thread are rather presumptuous in declaring what an education should amount to.
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USAPitBull63
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8/4/2013 12:05:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Here you go.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...
"Rise in violence 'linked to climate change'"
BBC News, published 8/2/13

When I read this headline, my first thought went to this:

"I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring."
---- Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet, III.i.ll 1-4
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8/4/2013 12:42:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 12:05:43 AM, USAPitBull63 wrote:
Here you go.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...
"Rise in violence 'linked to climate change'"
BBC News, published 8/2/13

When I read this headline, my first thought went to this:

"I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring."
---- Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet, III.i.ll 1-4


See, tell your friend that if we read enough Shakespeare there is no need for science :)
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"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
USAPitBull63
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8/4/2013 12:10:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 12:42:49 AM, thett3 wrote:
See, tell your friend that if we read enough Shakespeare there is no need for science :)

Yeah! Especially if new science discovers new phenomena that already existed hundreds of years ago. :)
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8/13/2013 10:24:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/3/2013 12:17:40 AM, Logic_on_rails wrote:
The study of Shakespeare in English classes is a bit dated, but it's not useless. Shakespeare's plays have interesting lessons to learn. Does that mean we should keep his plays as part of a curriculum? No. We ought to substitute Shakespearean plays for more modern texts like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. There are quality fictional texts that can do the job of Shakespeare far better. As to the texts chosen, we ought to use Graham Greene's distinction of novels and entertainment in choosing the texts. One should choose literary novels.

I'm against the teaching of Shakespeare in English for the most part due to better alternatives existing. That's not to say that the study of Shakespeare can't be helpful though. I'm aghast at the mention of eliminating English classes though.

Firstly, you can't get rid of English classes (or at least, not in NSW's education system) . I know I'm talking to Americans here, but my curriculum adjusts marks for subjects through a 'scaling' process. To scale all subjects one must have a common subject. Short of finding another mandatory subject, English must stay.

I think that English isn't as well structured as it could be. I have a long list of criticisms at the ready. I could also talk about the virtues of English classes for quite awhile. Suffice to say, many in this thread probably undervalue the teachings of English - it's a merit good of sorts - and many in this thread are rather presumptuous in declaring what an education should amount to.

I somewhat agree. I support keeping english. However, I support changing the focus of English class to writing and reading nonfiction novels. Sure, a few literature novels will not hurt, but I believe English should lean to the more practical research and writing as opposed to analyzing plays and poems.
RoyLatham
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8/23/2013 12:23:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Understand that Shakespeare is not peculiar to English. The University of Mexico teaches more than twenty courses on Shakespeare. Shakespeare is taught around the world because it is great literature.

What makes Shakespeare great is the way in which great themes are presented in simple ways. Part of that is the extraordinary use of language. Shakespeare introduced more than 200 words and phrases into the English language.

Another reason for studying Shakespeare is cultural literacy. If everyone studies Shakespeare, then the stories become a common reference for everyday speech and language. That facilitates communication. If some other literature were universally taught it would serve this purpose, but Shakespeare is the one who is established.

Perhaps Shakespeare is too difficult for many high school students. Possibly there is some compromise with "Shakespeare lite" for most, and serious study for senior honors classes.

The "too difficult" is a reflection of the general low standards of literacy in current society. My favorite example is the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War in which the letters from soldiers of the era are exceptionally eloquent compared to present writing. In part it reflects present society having so many alternatives to reading and writing.