In the afternoon of July 14th, we were once again thrilled, honored, and excited to have Dr. Alexa Alice Joubin (George Washington University) Zoom into our classroom. Not only did she continue her previous topic of "Globalization of Shakespeare," but she presented us all with unique pedagogical practices that we can incorporate into daily classroom life, increasing the self-efficacy of students.
Our class began with Dr. Joubin explaining the importance of close reading/close screening of specific scene(s) while preparing lessons. When preparing a lesson, consider first doing a close reading of a specific passage of the text, such as the "To be or not to be" text found in Hamlet. After the close reading, Dr. Joubin recommended to not just watch specific adaptations of the text, but also to have students analyze the differences, cultural aspects, music behind the scenes, and the cultural conflicts of the scenes in order to facilitate conversations centered around different cultural aspects and interests.
Dr. Joubin modeled this pedagogical practice for us by having us discuss our familiarity with the "To be or not to be" text from Hamlet. After this, she showed us three different adaptations of the text. The first was the Branagh version, the second clip was taken from the online video game Mabinogi, and the third clip was from the Almeredya version of Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke. Before, and after, showing us these three different adaptations, she used Google Jamboard as an interface for us to discuss specific differences and thoughts on the three different adaptations.
One of the best modeling pieces she used was that she would often provide information about each clip, not being afraid to stop the clip to make sure we, as a class, were all on the same page. I often find myself hesitant to stop a video while showing it, but I'm happy that Dr. Joubin showed what rich conversation can come from periodically stopping a short clip to further explain detail and specific cultural references that might be foreign to us and to students. Using two to three short videos will help students stay focused on the different adaptations and not feel lost. Specific grouping strategies will also allow students to increase their familiarity with the material, but also their self-efficacy. Dr. Joubin recommended to group students and have them identify the following:
As a class, we also discussed the importance of talking about, and implementing, "Global Shakespeare" within our schools and districts. The different adaptations, found throughout the world, approach Shakespeare with curiosity, and it is not just "white canon," but an opportunity for students and educators alike to delve into the beauty and richness of such diversity, conflict, and "otherness" that creates the melting pot of everlasting dramatic pieces.
Dr. Joubin empowered me to incorporate these different pedagogical practices into my classroom and also to advocate for teaching Global Shakespeare, not just Shakespeare through one lens. Our role is not just to have students be able to remember Hamlet in twenty years, but to give them skill sets that will help them understand different global communities and the importance of how adaptations are unitive in function, helping to transcend borders and helping to highlight the versatility and transcendence of Shakespeare.
Please follow the links below to access the main websites that were discussed in this session:
MIT Collection of Shakespeare Adaptations (by play)
How to Write a Rationale to Administration & Board (You might need to create a NCTE account if you do not already have one - a great resource for defending books and plays in the current climate)