Units and Assessment
The Postgraduate Award in the Teaching of Shakespeare (Online) runs for 25 weeks and will require a minimum of 50 hours of time, including teaching time.
As this is an online course, you control how and when you study.
Each unit of study takes approximately two weeks to complete. This may include reading, making a contribution to the discussion forum, running a teaching task or updating your online journal.
We strongly encourage you to participate in the Teaching Shakespeare live interactive webinars where you will have the chance to meet and discuss with your tutor and tutor group.
Units of study
The Postgraduate Award in the Teaching of Shakespeare (Online) is divided into 10 units of study which take you step-by-step through the process of transforming your classroom into a rehearsal room:
- Building an Ensemble Classroom
This unit introduces the concept that it's necessary to develop a group of students as an ensemble who can co-operate and trust each other, before working in active ways on the text. It provides teachers with a whole range of games and exercises to develop ensemble skills in their group.
- The Classroom as Rehearsal Room: A Model Lesson
This unit introduces the idea of the classroom as rehearsal room. It models a complete teaching sequence on Act 1 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet from beginning to end showing progression from warm up to exploring language to inspiring a written response to the scene.
- Telling the Story of the Play
This unit offers a range of different approaches to tell the whole story of the play with students and highlights the importance of students understanding the whole context of a play in order to build their understanding of individual scenes.
- Understanding, Interpreting and Owning Shakespeare’s Language
This unit features core exercises that enable students to unlock Shakespeare’s language, inspired by the work of Cicely Berry, the RSC’s Voice Director. It begins with a first read-through and builds to an exploration of imagery, rhythm, punctuation and antithesis.
- Connecting Worlds – Our World, Shakespeare’s World and the World of the Play
This unit focuses on approaches that enable students to find connections between Shakespeare’s play, their world and emotions and the time when the play was written.
- Transferring strategies to Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet
This unit models how active approaches can be transferred to other Shakespeare texts and introduces additional strategies for exploring the complexities of Shakespeare’s language.
- Questions Directors, Actors and Teachers Ask
This unit explores how high-quality questioning is a vital teaching and directing skill that enables students (and actors) to unlock Shakespeare’s text and models the kinds of powerful questions that can do this.
- Taking The Plunge
This unit is designed to give confidence to teachers introducing active approaches into their classroom and explores the challenges and rewards through the practice of an early career teacher.
- Designing Learning
This unit focuses on the essential considerations for lesson planning and designing exciting learning journeys for students
- Shakespeare in the World’s Classrooms
This final unit asks why Shakespeare is taught in schools across world and explores the outcomes for students of mastering such complex texts.
The core material for each unit is a film of up to 90 minutes designed for the online viewer and broken into sections. The films feature:
- Inspiring and accessible teaching sequences of students aged 11 and 15 in the UK and USA working on Romeo and Juliet taught by RSC Education Practitioner Rachel Gartside and Professor Jonothan Neelands of the University of Warwick (see photo, below right).
- Professor James Shapiro of Columbia University working with New York City teachers exploring the historical and contemporary world of Romeo and Juliet.
- Unique insights from leading RSC directors (including Rupert Goold, Michael Boyd, Roxana Silbert and Tim Crouch) into their working practices in the rehearsal room with actors and text; how they approach directing a Shakespeare play and use powerful questions to unlock meaning.
- RSC education practitioners applying active strategies inspired by the rehearsal room to: Hamlet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- In-depth interviews with Cicely Berry OBE, the RSC's legendary Director of Voice and Text, and Struan Leslie, the RSC's Head of Movement, on approaches to unlocking the power of Shakespeare language. You will also see them working with RSC actors modelling the work of the rehearsal room.
- RSC actors on how they approach creating Shakespeare's characters and owning his language.
- Expert academic commentary on the social and historical context to deepen your and your students understanding of Shakespeare's world, provided by leading academics Professor Jonathan Bate and Professor James Shapiro.
- Pedagogical questions designed to help you analyse and implement the teaching you see modelled
- Reflections from serving classroom teachers from the UK, New York City and Columbus, Ohio USA on how to teach through active approaches along with reflections on their challenges and successes in so doing.
All Teaching Shakespeare course assessments are designed to test your ability to apply the techniques and knowledge acquired while you study, not to test your memory.
You will be assessed by the following means:
- The extent and level of your participation in webinars and tutorials (20%)
- Your journal that provides evidence of engagement with core texts, critical reflection on practice and intellectual engagement with module content (40%)
- A digital presentation of your work with students in the classroom which shows engagement with the module content and reading (40%)
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