• Shyam S.

    I believe that the value of knowledge can be measured based on its prospect for profit. Shakespeare’s books, while relevant for English majors, has very little relevance for those pursuing more prominent careers such as in the fields of business, science, or medicine. How does comprehending Hamlet help an accountant prepare a financial audit? How does Hamlet help a surgeon perform a surgery? Some say Shakespeare’s books help readers understand human nature? Even if this is true, what monetary benefit does this provide? No one talks like Shakespeare today. When communicating wilth colleges in the workplace, there will be no “Thou hast thou thee given thoust soul the finest” or that type of confusing and outdated phrasing. English class should teach students how to effectively communicate in the workplace because that is important to help them rise up the ladders. Lets prepare our children to be successful adults and transform the English curriculum into something that has purpose.

  • David Gontar

    This debate is surely unnecessary. Of course Shakespeare belongs in the curriculum but need not be taught by every teacher. Further, not every student is equipped to handle that material. I teach it to students in China, but would never impose it on my colleagues. Why this is an issue I cannot see. Shakespeare should be an elective or AP offering in high school, a reward for intellectual ambition, not a requirement for all.

  • AGuyNamedJames

    I think “wonderfully curious” students deserve to be taught by wonderfully curious teachers, not teachers repelled by the syntax of another age, or those who think dead authors are no longer authors, only corpses, or who think “British” and “white” are insulting epithets. My, my, how have our standards fallen if these are our teachers.

  • Carole

    I don’t like what comes across as Ms. Dusbiber’s belief that teaching Shakespeare would be irrelevant to the students. Let them decide that for themselves; that would be more respectful. I say include Shakespeare’s work as a part of literature representing a diverse selection from various cultures and historical contexts. And I do not understand this divisive either/or thinking with regards to writers. There is no reason to exclude any literature based on the time and place it originated from. All writing comes out of a particular context; thats part of what can make it compelling. And does work by a “dead” author make the work irrelevant? That would exclude a hell of a lot of writing, wouldn’t it? Does being a writer who is/was of European descent disqualify him or her? The reality is that ancestries/heritages get mixed to one degree or another anyway.

  • boB

    Okay, I know I’m a picky Grammar Nazi, and there’s a lot wrong in Ms Dusbiber’s logic, but when you start you essay with “I am a high school English teacher.” you damn sure better not include some stupid mangling of the English language like “right-of-passage.”

    On her actual argument — she’s a twit. English majors & English teachers often take the literary approach to Shakespeare, and that is a ridiculous notion. Shakespeare’s works were never meant to be read, they were meant to be performed.

    If you are sitting down silently reading your Shakespeare, then you are doing it wrong!! Get up, move, feel the emotions of the words, Shakespeare was not an author, he was a playwright.

    Respect the art — that’s what you should be teaching.

  • francine2009

    Without some basic Shakespeare, which is all most people ever experience, there are so many references in modern literature which would be lost on most readers. Without some basic Shakespeare, ill-prepared students of the future wouldn’t even understand a lot of the jokes on The Simpsons. If taught correctly, Shakespeare is the platform upon which a lifelong love of literature may be built. I suspect this woman is ready for a career change.

  • Matty Sarro

    There is no reason at all Shakespeare should be removed from curriculum. Unless my teacher lied, copies of Shakespeare’s works outnumber every other book save for the bible. To cut it out is removing a massive portion of our, read, the world’s, literary legacy. Yes, there are a world of diverse authors out there, and I DO think schools should be less western-centric, or more specifically less Britain-centric. Das Nibelungenlied, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Romance of Three Kingdoms, the Bhagavad Gita, etc. These are all awesome options. All of them are hard to read, but they also offer a gateway to how the world has changed, and more importantly, how it hasn’t changed. They also teach how the world’s stories today are largely recycled from other stories.

  • Michael

    If only all experienced Shakespeare as the author did. But, alas, they do not. In my opinion, most people’s first experience with Shakespeare should be watching a high-quality live production of one of his plays. At minimum a top notch film. For me, the problem with Shakespeare in the classroom is two-fold. First, when it is taught at the middle school level or otherwise when students aren’t ready for it. A few (very few) are ready for him in 6th grade, but the vast majority are not. If parents want to introduce their children to Shakespeare early, or if some children find him on their own, fine. But to introduce Shakespeare too early and create a general dislike of Shakespeare in the populous as a result, not fine. Second, when the plays are taught as literature and not as plays. “Play” is the operative word here. Students should have fun with Shakespeare, not study him. Shakespeare should be the reward for having learned English, not a tool used to teach it.

    • Trudy Henry Cannon

      Just one little thing…”populace”…