What is the Place for Shakespeare in Today's Alberta English Language Arts Curriculum?

  • Author / Creator
    Chow, Stephanie Guoxin
  • Since the establishment of the Alberta High School English Language Arts Program of Studies, the genre of the Shakespearean drama has always been a required component in the curriculum document. In addition, English 30-1 students must complete a series of reading comprehension questions on a Shakespearean passage, as part of a standardized diploma exam. As a graduate of the Alberta High School Diploma Program, and now a teacher of the English Language Arts High School Program of Studies, I was intrigued by the impact Shakespeare had in Language Arts curriculum, education and pedagogy. As an educator, I have witnessed many students struggle with understanding the language of Shakespeare and the context of his works, as well as students who found the study of Shakespeare to be the most intriguing and rewarding part of their high school English journey. As the only required author in the current Alberta Program of Studies, I found myself asking how such works from so long ago could be relevant to our changing classroom demographic and promotion of multi-literacies in the 21st-century. However, I am neither arguing for nor against the teaching of Shakespeare’s plays altogether, but have explored whether English teachers in Alberta agree that he should be the only required author in the curriculum. Through their responses, I attempted to determine to what extent the rationale for teaching Shakespeare was still consistent, and if given the option, what the high school English Language Arts educators would opt to teach in lieu of Shakespeare. Based on the responses of my teacher participants, it is clear that they would continue to teach Shakespeare even if his works were no longer mandatory in the curriculum. They also recognize that an educator should have valid reasons for selecting his plays, as they do other works, rather than simply adhering to mandates.

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  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.