Which side has better arguments for Shakespeare being taught/not taught in schools? For or against?I'm not a Shakespeare fan and I originally wanted to go against Shakespeare but people suggest...

Which side has better arguments for Shakespeare being taught/not taught in schools? For or against?

I'm not a Shakespeare fan and I originally wanted to go against Shakespeare but people suggest that the for side has more arguments.

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting question because as you find people defending him, you have to consider your sources (mostly English teachers I am sure). As you, the author of the paper you are about to write, you might think about considering what is most important to be taught in schools.

As a previous student and current teacher, I have to be honest with you. I don't remember most of the books I read in high school, or the concepts that I learned. I am more of the written word type, so even though I took pre-calc, I don't think I could complete a problem out of that textbook completely. But, I do believe before going on to college, I received a strong foundation because I knew how to read, think, write, analyze, judge, study, memorize, apply, infer, take notes, learn from my cheating, and learn in general. Somehow that happened. Did Shakespeare study have a hand in that? I actually think so, and this is not my bias as an English teacher, so I think you should argue for

I can remember each of the teachers who made me trudge through that text. I can remember frustration and confusion. As an educator, I now know that when learning is going to take place, it takes place immediately after a period of either or both of these two concepts. Think about the classes you take in high school, the easy ones are a waste of your time, you can teach yourself. The hard ones, these are the ones that make you stronger. Shakespeare is difficult. Keep him around.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to agree that the plus side in teaching Shakespeare has far more weapons in its arsenal than its counterpart.  Initially, for the most part when one is suggesting that content should "not be taught in schools," I see it as an uphill battle.  There has to be fairly conclusive and decisive analysis that would prove that teaching the material would do more harm than good.  I cannot see Shakespeare in this category.  Outside of the fact that his presence in literature is very dominant and that the plot lines he features helps to underscore much of modern thought and that the characterizations he offers represents some of the most complex in human motivations, I think that teaching Shakespeare early and often to students will help solidify concepts that are critical in reading and thinking.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare should still be taught. He was a phenomenal writer for his time, and the fact that we still discuss him attests to the fact that he's still relevant. However, I don't think we necessarily have to teach all of his plays in their entirety. We can teach parts of some of them and really focus in on specific elements of that section. This might encourage some students to not give up before they begin. In addtion Shakespeare was a wonderful poet, but I don't think we always give him enough credit in that area.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm a proponent of teaching Shakespeare in schools for several reasons, including the fact that reading his work with any understanding makes students work.  They have to think, understand words and concepts, appreciate the subtleties of language, analyze, and make application.  That being said, if I were taking the opposite view, I'd say lots of texts can do that.  True, but not in such a timeless and enduring way--the works have lived, and even grown, in more than 400 years, and there's a reason for that. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people say Shakespeare's language is too inaccessible for students, and we should not bother to teach them these dusty old plays.  I strongly disagree.  With the proper guidance, students can understand the plays and the content is engaging and accessible!

treedreamer | Student

There are many texts that portray and teach of human experience and psychology, both contemporary and past. Shakespeare just seems to do it in profoundly compassionate, lyrical and honest ways. and the imagery - stunning. the human-ness of the plays' characters is timeless and when we look around us all is the same - so we can learn about our own world through the fantastical lens of a past physical context. Shakespeare's plays have a poignancy and skill not easily matched by other texts.


krishna-agrawala | Student

There is no doubt that Shakespeare is a great author and has written some great works of literature. At the same time it is also true that nor everyone, particularly one everyone in twenty-first century, is interested in or will benefit from reading Shakespeare.

There are many good authors and many good works of literature, covering a very wide variety. The limitation of time available for teaching in school mean that most of these excellent authors and works of literature have to be left out of scope of teaching in schools. I see no obvious reasons to consider Shakespeare as a better candidate for teaching to all students preferable over all other authors and all other literature.

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