As a key figure in literature, William Shakespeare has long been given a prominent position in the curriculums of high schools across the world. However, there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not his plays and sonnets should continue to be included in high school English classes. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument.
Why Shakespeare Should be Taught in High School
One of the most significant arguments in favor of teaching Shakespeare is the educational value his works provide. Studying his plays and sonnets helps students develop their critical thinking, analytical, and verbal communication skills. Through his complex characters, intricate language, and timeless themes such as love, death, and betrayal, Shakespeare’s works challenge students on multiple levels.
Shakespeare is considered one of the most significant figures in English literature and his cultural significance extends beyond just his plays and sonnets. His work has influenced countless writers, poets, and artists in subsequent centuries. The study of Shakespeare also grants insights into English history and culture.
Preparation for College and Life
Studying Shakespeare is an excellent preparation for college and life in general. Colleges and universities usually require at least one Shakespeare course as part of their English program, and a solid foundation in Shakespeare will give students an edge over their peers in terms of both critical thinking and academic achievement.
Arguments Against Teaching Shakespeare in High School
Difficulty of Language
One of the main arguments against teaching Shakespeare in high school is the difficulty of his language. Shakespearean English is challenging not only because of the vocabulary but also because of the grammar and syntax which are vastly different from modern English. This poses a severe challenge for high school students and can be a turn-off for some of them.
Cultural and Historical Divide
The works of Shakespeare were written hundreds of years ago, and they reflect a culture and society vastly different from the one today’s high school students live in. The lack of understanding and familiarity with Shakespeare’s time, culture, and social norms could make it difficult for students to relate to his work in a meaningful way.
Other Literary Options
Finally, there is the argument that there are many other worthy works of literature that could replace Shakespeare in the high school curriculum without compromising educational standards. Choosing a more contemporary work may be easier for students to relate to and foster a broader understanding of modern issues.
While the debate over whether or not to teach Shakespeare in high school may continue, his work’s cultural significance and the educational value they provide make a strong case for their inclusion in high school English classes. At the same time, the challenges inherent in studying Shakespeare and the availability of other literary options suggest that educators must also be open to alternative approaches to teaching literature.
- Shakespeare’s works provide educational value by fostering critical thinking, analytical, and verbal communication skills.
- The cultural significance of Shakespeare’s works extends beyond his plays and sonnets.
- Studying Shakespeare can prepare high school students for college and life.
- The difficulty of the language, cultural and historical distance, and availability of other literary options are some of the reasons against teaching Shakespeare in high school.
- The debate on whether or not to teach Shakespeare in high school should continue to encourage the exploration of alternative approaches to teaching literature.
Is it necessary to study Shakespeare in high school?
It’s not necessary but studying Shakespeare offers a great opportunity to develop critical thinking, analytical and verbal communication skills. It also offers insights into English culture, history, and literature which are invaluable.
Isn’t Shakespeare too hard for high school students?
Shakespeare’s language can indeed be challenging for high school students, but with the right approach, resources, and support, students can overcome the difficulty and gain a significant understanding of his work.
Is there any alternative to studying Shakespeare in high school?
There are many other literary options available that could replace Shakespeare in the high school curriculum without compromising educational standards. The choice depends on the goals, priorities, and interests of the educators and students involved.