Shakespeare for Teachers *EDU*

Course Name

Shakespeare for Teachers




5/6 EC

Course date

semester 1 (2020 - 2021)

Registration open until

15/06/2020 - 25/09/2020


This course will be taught online


Kristine Johanson (UvA), Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen (Leiden) en Kristine Steenbergh (VU)

E-mail Contact

Kristine Johanson (UvA)

Course objectives

With successful completion of this course, students will:

• Have developed their own, individual toolkit for teaching Shakespeare;

• Be able to recognize defining characteristics and concerns of Shakespearean drama and poetry;

• Be able to analyze and discuss the rich, complex language of Shakespeare’s plays and poems;

• Be able to situate Shakespeare’s drama in the realities of the early modern playhouse;

• Be able to identify and to differentiate amongst theoretical approaches to Shakespeare’s plays;

• Be able to critically evaluate adaptation and performance approaches to Shakespeare’s work;

• Have mastered different dramatic techniques to explore Shakespeare’s drama and poetry

• Further develop their independent research skills.

Course content

Knowledge of, and familiarity with, Shakespeare’s plays and poems remain vital components of understanding English language, literature, and culture. This course deepens and broadens that knowledge and familiarity not only by honing students’ skills in critical reading and writing, but also by helping them to develop their own best tools for teaching Shakespeare.

The course will dedicate two weeks to Shakespeare’s Sonnets, two weeks to Hamlet, and two weeks to The Tempest. Alongside these primary texts, students will also read key critical texts that will ensure their familiarity with key debates in Shakespeare studies. In addition to extensive reading and class discussion, students will also participate in three activities (two workshops and an excursion). These activities are designed to augment their knowledge of Shakespeare and his works beyond the page and to develop their performative knowledge of Shakespeare.


Lecture, seminar, individual research

Close Reading Essay and Presentation:  40%
This assignment requires you to develop not only your critical reading and writing skills, but your communication and presentation skills as well.

For the essay part of this assignment, you will make a critical argument about Hamlet, a selection of sonnets, or perhaps poetry and drama together. Your textual analyses will demonstrate your close-reading skills and your judicious use of secondary sources. This essay will be 2000 words (including references) and will be formatted in MLA style.

For the presentation element of this assignment, you will give a 5-10 minute presentation on the text, or a part of the text, you chose. In this presentation, you will need to teach the class your argument, highlighting and discussing the evidence you used in your essay.

Teaching Shakespeare Portfolio: 60%
During the course, students will learn and develop their own best-practices for teaching Shakespeare. This 3,000-word portfolio will showcase four of these best-practices, explaining what they will teach, how, and offering objectives for the practice. You will use secondary sources to support your decisions. In the final week of the course, you will give a 5-10 minute presentation outlining one of the practices in your portfolio.

Study load
5 ECTS (=140 hours)
(UvA: Students who need 6 ECTS may elect to do an extra assignment. This must be determined with your lecturer in week 1).
Seminars: 7 x 3 = 21 hrs
Preparation and work per week 7 x 8 = 56 hrs
2 assignments 2 x 12 = 24 hrs
Teaching Shakespeare Portfolio = 39 hrs

Background Literature and Course Materials

Shakespeare, W. The Sonnets, ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones. Arden, 2010.

Shakespeare, W. Hamlet, eds. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. Arden, 2006.

Shakespeare, W. The Tempest, eds. Virginia Mason Vaughan and Arden Vaughan.

Secondary reading materials will be supplied by the course lecturers.

€ 50,-

Further information

Course Schedule
Fridays 11.00-14.00

November 6, 13, 20, 27, and december 4 and 11, 2020.