Shakespeare Texts

<b> Forum for the discussion on ESL/EFL textbooks </b>

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Shakespeare Texts

Post by skelso » Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:49 pm

Friends, teachers, Shakespeareans, lend me your experiences! If you have taught Shakespeare to ESL/EFL students which texts have you used? I am an ESL teacher in an intensive English program and am writing my master's thesis on using Shakespeare with ESL and EFL students in secondary and college levels. If you have any experience in this area please respond to my 15 question survey at

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Post by Ekdogg » Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:20 am

I must admit that when I read Shakespeare at university I read the comic book versions of some of the plays. Don't laugh! They were beautifully illustrated and contained the entire text of each play. The drawings really helped me to understand the plot and overcome some of the Bard's arcane language. It occurs to me that your EFL students might be able to benefit from those comics, too. I wonder if they're still in print.

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Post by rebra » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Hi, I am also reading Shakespeare at university right now. To really grasp the meaning of the play, I usually read the ‘modernized’ version of it before reading the actual play. This helps me better under the setting of the play and the plot. I can also compare both texts, which I find very interesting. What some students in my program do is that they watch the play online, and follow with the original text at the same time.
Here is the link to the site where almost all Shakespeare plays are transcribed in modern English ... rn-english

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Post by rogue2 » Sun May 01, 2011 3:30 am

I teach Macbeth to my very advanced 4 year university students. It's mainly just an introduction to Shakespeare because I think it's a shame that English majors do not really get to read the greatest of English writers.

You can find a lot of stuff on the internet to help you. I think it's Bookrag or Endnotes -- one of those type sites has dual language Shakespeare -- the original and modern English side by side, line by line. Wish we'd had that when I was a kid.

I just came across some comic books of Shakespeare -- Macbeth, Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet -- like the other commentator mentioned. You can download these from Avaxhome -- look in the "Other" section or do a search. I'm planning on using the Macbeth comic book when I next teach that course.

We also watch the film of Macbeth (the Polanski version) which helps the students to understand the story. Remember Shakespeare was really meant to be watched rather than read. You can download all the films from the internet but you may want to try locally and get the film in the student's own language. I suppose it depends what you want to focus on. I'm not interested in treating Macbeth as deeply as I studied it at school--I'm happy if the kids can understand the plot a few of the major themes. As I said, it's really an introduction to the Bard.

My kids have universally liked Macbeth especially when you explain the context of Elizabethian theatre. I might try Othello next -- A case of vaulting ambition o'leaping itself?

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