My favourite question: ‘What don’t you understand?’

I just love the language and I think that Shakespeare sometimes is over analyzed instead of just enjoyed. Just my opinion. For instance The Taming of the Shrew is probably one of his sexiest works but people get hung up on meaning instead of listening to the words. They are delicious.

Reflecting English

I can still remember studying Julius Caesar at secondary school. My teacher took us through the play line-by-line and, even now, his face, his classroom and even the Times Roman font of the cheap edition I read from spring vividly to mind whenever I think of the words ‘Beware the Ides of March’ or ‘Et tu, Brute?’ Later on, during my A-Level and undergraduate years Shakespeare became tougher: I had to wring out the meaning for myself. I learned to enjoy the challenge, the endless pouring over footnotes and re-reading of lines.

I have always hated not understanding what I read. I think many of the children I teach feel the same way and that might be why without careful teaching, tough texts can lead to disenchantment with reading and literature. Probably the most challenging teaching decision I face daily is how to balance explicitly telling students what a phrase…

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