Today we highlight our NCTE 2017 session that deals directly with teaching language that is tough in lots of ways—cognitively, racially, socially, emotionally.
What Matters Most When We Teach Othello—and What to Do in Class
How do we as teachers confront the issues that we cannot afford not to confront? How do we facilitate difficult conversations around difficult texts? Why—and how—should your students read Othello? Come to this hands-on session, and join the growing conversation about Shakespeare and social justice in the ELA classroom.
Session D: What Matters Most When We Teach Othello—and What to Do in Class
When: 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Where: Room 220
Who: Dr. Peggy O’Brien (dc), Dominique Parker (MD), and Willie Plaschke (MO)
Every student deserves to have—and is capable of having—a real, direct experience with Shakespeare’s language. In Othello, this language raises questions about identity, race, and power. This session will demonstrate how to get students inquiring actively into Iago’s lies, Othello’s transformation, and Desdemona’s death. By exploring the words in the context of a dramatic situation where the action takes place, students use all the available cues to make meaning from the text and arrive at their own answers.
Dominique Parker teaches English at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland. Although she has a trusty set of Shakespeare Set Free books, she didn’t fully appreciate the Folger method until she attended the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute in the summer of 2016. Now, she can’t imagine teaching any of the plays without putting them “on their feet!” You can reach her on Twitter @akaMsParker.
Willie Plaschke teaches 6th, 8th, and 12th grade AP English in Joplin, Missouri. He studied philosophy, music, and religious studies in the middle of Ohio before doing his Master’s at Earlham College. He attended Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute in the summer of 2016, loved it, and has been hooked ever since. His other passions include music, spending time with friends and family, and buying just one more book.
Peggy O’Brien is our fearless leader, the Director of Education at the Folger Shakespeare Library. If you’re reading this blog and hanging out in the Folger teacher community, you know her well. She is a high school English teacher at heart who feels honored to collaborate with classroom teachers on this important work.