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Teaching urban 13 year-olds Macbeth

February 3, 2013

Claire Needell Hollander has a funny essay on her attempt to teach her 7th and 8th grade students Macbeth (in a Manhattan public junior high school) in accordance with the new Common Core Standards.  She concludes

There’s still so much laughter, it’s after 3, and no one notices the time. I think how this exposure to the archaic text exposes the text right back. It’s noisy, a mash-up, a text slamming into the present moment, split open, banged. What does that look like in the classroom, what does that sound like? It is not anyone’s ideal. It’s rowdy, boisterous, demanding and crude. And sounds, improbably enough, a lot like Shakespeare.

I don’t think 13 (or even 12) is too young to be encountering Shakespeare.


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