Elementary Students and Shakespeare: Inspiring Community and Learning

By George Belliveau.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper looks at two groups of elementary aged students that engage with Shakespeare in innovative ways. Community Shakespeare Company on Lopez Island in Washington State (gr. 1-7), and Maple Grove Elementary in Vancouver, British Columbia (gr. 1-4) who respectively approach Shakespeare’s work in unique ways to inspire young learners. The teachers and artists that work with these elementary students use a variety of pedagogical and theatrical approaches to explore the language, conflicts, and characters inside Shakespeare’s plays. Although the focus for these young learners centers on studying and performing the plays, a number of by-products emerge during the theatre process. Community building, aesthetic development, and conflict resolution skills become important learning components. This paper traces the work of these two elementary groups to illuminate how Shakespeare’s plays continue to inspire and provoke us four centuries later.

Keywords: Theatre and Community, Elementary Students, Shakespeare

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.162MB).

Dr. George Belliveau

Associate Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

George Belliveau is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Theatre/Drama Education. His research interests include research-based theatre, drama and social justice (bullying), drama and L2 learning, drama across the curriculum, and Canadian theatre. His work has been published in journals such as International Journal of Education and the Arts, Arts and Learning Research Journal, Canadian Journal of Education, English Quarterly, Theatre Research in Canada, Canadian Theatre Review, Active Learning in Higher Education, among others. His co-authored book with Lynn Fels Exploring curriculum: performative inquiry, role drama and learning (2008) is published by Pacific Educational Press.

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