Megan Williams
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Jan, 27

How to teach Shakespeare at GCSE level

There are certain topics throughout GCSE English that can be particularly challenging for some pupils, and Shakespeare is often one of them. Here are a few tips to help make Shakespeare that little bit easier in the classroom.

  1. Identify the characters before you begin reading

Before reading, it is a good idea to go through each character with your students, highlighting who they are and what their role is within the text.

By doing this, students will already have a small understanding of each character and their relationship with other characters which will make reading less confusing.

  1. Go through the plot before reading

Similarly to looking at the characters before reading, this is all about preparation and knowing what to expect.

By going through the plot first, students will know what the basic storyline is, which will help them when they try to dissect and understand the themes and language within the play. If they know that Romeo and Juliet are lovers who are supposed to be sworn enemies, then they will know to expect language that references to love and war.

  1. Bring the play to life

Whilst there is always a large focus on constantly reading a play to understand it and to analyse it ready for exams, watching it can allow for a better understanding of the story and the characters.

You can opt for a film version or you may want to really immerse your students by watching a theatre production of a Shakespeare play. Seeing the play being performed will give students a break from reading and will enable them to process the storyline and the characters in a different way than they would with reading alone.

  1. Read different versions of Shakespeare’s plays

There are a whole host of different texts that interpret these plays in a different way. By mixing the original plays with modern text versions, students can begin to understand the language and meanings within the original texts.

If you need more teaching ideas and resources for teaching Shakespeare to your GCSE students, then head to Teachit English. They have a comprehensive selection of teaching resources to help you plan engaging lessons for all year groups.

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