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Thinking Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice

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Thinking Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice


Thinking Shakespeare

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Thinking Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice

Using Higher Order Thinking Skills

by Jeff Lilly

The Thinking Shakespeare series is a collection of learning activities that encourages understanding through a logical progression of thinking skills - from remembering who, what, and when, to knowing how and why. This progression is based on Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. This photocopiable series is designed to help make Shakespeare accessible, simply that. Studying the bard is not always an easy exercise and his plays still excite controversy and disagreement in the most distinguished academic circles. Very often exercises and activities used in textbooks are daunting for students and, while Shakespeare is a fundamental part of English language curricula throughout the world, his plays are not always easy to read and understand.

The Thinking Shakespeare series is designed to ease that understanding. Using Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, students are presented with a sequence of exercises and activities which begin with events and characters and progressively become more demanding. Teachers may pull pages and ideas from the series to compliment their own programmes. The activities may be used for individual, home, group or whole-of-class work. Because the sections are broadly similar throughout the series, similar lines of enquiry may be embarked upon across several of the plays. Generally, students will begin by remembering details and end by developing and expressing their own ideas. The structure of the series also means that there is plenty of work for young readers, right through to more advanced students. Never far away is the intention to foster a sense of enjoyment and appreciation of Shakespeare.

The Merchant of Venice, while classified as a comedy, is often seen as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The title character is the merchant Antonio, but the Jewish moneylender Shylock is possibly the most prominent figure in the play. Shylock is both tormented and tormentor and the opinions of the audience can be manipulated by director and lead actors. The play has often been used to illustrate points of view in different contexts.

About the Author:
Jeff Lilly majored in English and History and is a qualified teacher with some thirty years of experience at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. He is the author of a children's novel, writes feature articles for magazines and actively edits educational material. As an alternative to a random approach he sees Bloom's Taxonomy as being extremely useful in structuring activities and questions in texts, so that there is a natural and logical progression - therefore a better and more satisfying understanding.

Age Suitability: Secondary

ISBN-10: 1869685296
ISBN-13: 978-1869685294 

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