Stories + Views
Is it “dumbing down” to modernise Shakespeare? Will they allow it at WFLS? Look at my video and judge for yourself.
I’ve produced another video for pupils which aims to motivate them to like Shakespeare and look closely at his use of language. A way English teachers do this is by modernising the play. I’ve met some teachers who believe that this is “dumbing down” because pupils are essentially “corrupting” his language and approach. However, you could argue that it’s the opposite of “dumbing down” because modernising the Bard requires a great many “high level” cognitive skills: comparison and contrast, analysis of plot, characters and language; and the deployment of various media techniques.
I worry that a more “narrow-minded” approach to education might put a stop to this sort of thing because it’s not “traditional” enough. For example, if we are going to have a new breed of “comprehensive grammars” along the lines of the West London Free School model, will they permit this sort of thing?
I think schools should a place where fresh approaches to traditional topics like Shakespeare should be encouraged and nurtured, and not denigrated as “dumbing down”.