How and Why We Teach Shakespeare : College Teachers and Directors Share How They Explore the Playwright’s Works with Their Students book cover
1st Edition

How and Why We Teach Shakespeare
College Teachers and Directors Share How They Explore the Playwright’s Works with Their Students

ISBN 9780367245672
Published June 10, 2019 by Routledge
230 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $42.95

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Book Description

In How and Why We Teach Shakespeare, 19 distinguished college teachers and directors draw from their personal experiences and share their methods and the reasons why they teach Shakespeare. The collection is divided into four sections: studying the text as a script for performance; exploring Shakespeare by performing; implementing specific techniques for getting into the plays; and working in different classrooms and settings.

The contributors offer a rich variety of topics, including:

  • working with cues in Shakespeare, such as line and mid-line endings that lead to questions of interpretation
  • seeing Shakespeare’s stage directions and the Elizabethan playhouse itself as contributing to a play’s meaning
  • using the "gamified" learning model or cue-cards to get into the text
  • thinking of the classroom as a rehearsal
  • playing the Friar to a student’s Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet
  • teaching Shakespeare to inner-city students or in a country torn by political and social upheavals.

For fellow instructors of Shakespeare, the contributors address their own philosophies of teaching, the relation between scholarship and performance, and—perhaps most of all—why in this age the study of Shakespeare is so important.


Chapter 10 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

Introduction: How and Why

Sidney Homan  

Section 1: Encountering Shakespeare’s Verbal and Visual Text with Students 

1. Theatricality and the Resistance of Thesis

Andrew Hartley

2. ‘That’s a question: How shall we try it?’ (The Comedy of Errors 5.1)

Nick Hutchison

3. Re-Entering Macbeth: ‘Witches Vanish’ and Other Stage Directions

S. P. Cerasano

4. Seeing the Elizabethan Playhouse in Richard II

Joseph Candido

Section 2: Learning through Performance

5. Acting and Ownership in the Shakespeare Classroom

James Bulman and Beth Watkins

6. Performing Hamlet

Russell Jackson

7. ‘Gladly Would He Learn and Gladly Teach’: Empowering Students with Shakespeare

Sidney Homan  

8. Uncertain Text: Student and Teacher Find Their Way Onstage in Romeo and Juliet

Jerry Harp and Erica Terpening

9. ‘In Practice Let Us Put It Presently’: Learning with Much Ado

Fran Teague and Kristin Kundert

Section 3: Approaching Shakespeare from Some Specific Angles

10. Shakespeeding into Macbeth and The Tempest: Teaching with the Shakespeare Reloaded Website

Liam Semler

11. ‘And so everyone according to his cue’: Practice-led Teaching and Cue-scripts in the Classroom

Miranda Fay Thomas

12. Collaborating with Shakespeare

Frederick Kiefer

13. Shakespeare without Print

Paul Menzer 

Section 4: Shakespeare in Various Classrooms

14. That Depends: What Do You Want Two Plus Two To Be?

Cary Mazer

15. ‘Who's there?’ ‘Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself’: Attending to Students in Diversified Settings

Naomi Conn Liebler

16. Unpicking the Turkish Tapestry: Teaching Shakespeare in Anatolia

Patrick Hart

17. Teaching Shakespeare to Retirees in the OLLI Program

Alan Dessen

Afterword: Cur Non?

June Schlueter

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Sidney Homan is Professor of English at the University of Florida and Visiting Professor at Jilin University in the People’s Republic of China. The recipient of many teaching awards, he was recently chosen as the Teacher/Scholar of the Year at the University of Florida. He is also a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Author of 16 books on Shakespeare and the modern playwrights, he is also an actor and director in professional and university theatres.