Examining Shakespeare in the Secondary School Curriculum: Prescription, Pedagogy and Performance

  • Dutton, J. (Speaker)
  • Jackie Manuel (Speaker)
  • Don Carter (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


    Since the introduction of the first secondary school English syllabus in New South Wales (NSW) in the early years of the 20th century, Shakespearean drama has enjoyed an uninterrupted mandatory status for students in junior secondary English and the higher-level courses in the senior secondary years. In more than 100 years of a prescriptive model of text selection and study, the only other author continuously included in the compulsory senior secondary text lists has been Jane Austen. Given the historically pronounced and enduring presence of the study of Shakespearean drama in the secondary English curriculum in a post-colonial Australian setting, this paper raises and explores key questions about its prescriptive positioning; the rationale for its largely unchallenged prominence in both the junior and senior English syllabus; classroom pedagogical approaches; and the influence of high-stakes examinations on student engagement with and enjoyment of Shakespearean drama. In addressing these questions, the paper will draw on evidence from research with current NSW secondary English teachers and critical scholarship in the field of curriculum history and English education.
    Period1 Feb 2019
    Event titleShakespeare FutureEd Conference
    Event typeConference
    LocationSydney, AustraliaShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionNational