Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shakespeare! In the Standards!

The new Common Core standards expect that grade 11 and 12 students will
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)
and also
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text. (Include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist.)
The Reading Standards for Literature do mention other works as examples that could be replaced by other examples:
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new. (Grade 8)
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus). (Grade 9)
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare). (Grade 9)
The Bard, though, is not an example.  He's identified as an author--the author--students must meet.  That uniqueness is, I think, quite right.  Shakespeare's contribution of language, images, characters, and plots is entirely unequaled in English, and and the scale of his work is unmatched in any other language.

(Hat tip to the New York Times: I missed this important new element in my first quick skim of the standards documents.)

1 comment:

  1. It seems like they've been taking a look at the English school standards, a lot of the language and goals are similar.


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