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Politics Should "classics" be taught in schools?



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Should they be taught?

  • Yes

    Votes: 6 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    6

Soldier

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Hello,

Now this thread was a thought I had one day when glancing through some of my work from high school, more specifically, a report on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest". For those who don't know, it's about a wizard who has a slave and a daughter on an island, brings a royal ship to the island, and hijinks ensue. If that premise sounds exciting, it isn't, and hasn't been for hundreds of years in my opinion. I don't know how common this is in places outside the U.S, but they do this in America A LOT. And let me tell you, Shakespeare's work hasn't aged well, the old english might as well be a foreign language at this point because even his "humorous" works have lost all their comedic potential as common speech evolves. There was a "widow ditto" joke in The Tempest that no one understood, and the book we had explained it in a lengthy footnote.

I should probably phrase this thread with a bit more clarity, as some classics I'm actually fine with. Tom Sawyer, for example is recent enough to the point where any english speaker can read it and understand a good 85% of it. But books like Shakespeare that require internet access to decode their meaning constantly are on the chopping block today. What do you all think?
 

Willow A113

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į'ʍ ɾìցհէ ҍҽհìղժ վօմ... Ͳմɾղ ąɾօմղժ...
Hello,

Now this thread was a thought I had one day when glancing through some of my work from high school, more specifically, a report on William Shakespeare's "The Tempest". For those who don't know, it's about a wizard who has a slave and a daughter on an island, brings a royal ship to the island, and hijinks ensue. If that premise sounds exciting, it isn't, and hasn't been for hundreds of years in my opinion. I don't know how common this is in places outside the U.S, but they do this in America A LOT. And let me tell you, Shakespeare's work hasn't aged well, the old english might as well be a foreign language at this point because even his "humorous" works have lost all their comedic potential as common speech evolves. There was a "widow ditto" joke in The Tempest that no one understood, and the book we had explained it in a lengthy footnote.

I should probably phrase this thread with a bit more clarity, as some classics I'm actually fine with. Tom Sawyer, for example is recent enough to the point where any english speaker can read it and understand a good 85% of it. But books like Shakespeare that require internet access to decode their meaning constantly are on the chopping block today. What do you all think?
I think some classics should continue to be taught in schools because a lot of them are amazing, and if they're not taught, they'll be lost to time, which would be sad. But there are plenty of books no one likes or cares about and those shouldn't be taught. If the entire classroom doesn't care if it's lost to time, it should be lost to time imo. I think schools should have a balance. (American) Schools seem to have a strange obsession with old books. Most seem against teaching a book that's less than 70 years old. Why? It's not like literature has gotten worse in the years after. New books are just as good as old books and they should be taught just as much as the classics. I can just imagine a teacher telling the class "this month we're reading Harry Potter", and the classroom is cheering because they're excited they're finally getting something interesting. Students would do better if they learn about something they want to learn about, anyway.
Thanks for listening to reading my rant. You're not the only one who's bothered by this. I have no idea how to end this, so... yeah...
 

AdrianXXII

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I feel the classics do have their place, there's a reason people like to return to Shakespeare works, but how they are approached should probably be changed.
With how language changes over time it might make sense to keep the actual books and writings for later years, but expose kids to retellings earlier on. I just think it's worth exposing people to works through out the ages so you can kind of see how they built up upon each other. Exposing people to these works also create a common reference pool, which can be useful when consuming other media.

That said having kids read and discuss more contemporary work does make more sense considering it probably speaks to them more and they might be more interested in reading it. The main goal especially in the early years is to get the students to read.
 

Absent

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Depends what “taught” means. I think a good reason why a lot of Americans, especially those in underprivileged circumstances hate reading is because they’re forced to read something. And more often than not, despite those stories having timeless lessons they can be hard to relate to. Because when you make reading a chore or something overwhelming, it can have the opposite effect that teachers want.
Idk because how can you teach the classics without actually reading them?
God this thread reminded me that I hated every single story/book in my public education life. Had I not discovered online forums and fan fiction, I would have never approached reading ever again as a hobby.
 

Vulpes XIII

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They should continue to teach all different types of classic literature in school in order to keep the history of literature alive as if schools stop teaching them they will eventually become lost to time.

I honestly wouldn’t of minded getting to study more classics at school since at my school, in terms of classics I only ever got to study one William Shakespeare book and that wasn’t until the last year of High School. So honestly it was actually very easy in my High School to go through school without ever reading one of the classics as it was up to the teacher which text you study and a lot of them didn’t seem like they wanted to spend the year analysing Shakespeare so would make us study a few short stories and poems instead.
 
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Robert.Rowe

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I recently began reading a manga version of Hamlet. It has all the original text but it's drawn in a manga style. I actually had a lot of fun reading it and decoding each line was even enjoyable. Though if I were reading it as a play I would hate it.
Very unexpected! Shakespeare and manga ... Can you share a link?)) But I am inclined to believe that classical literature is the pinnacle! Acquaintance with the classics gives us the basics of understanding life. Yes, it happens that a classic work is not immediately clear))) It's good that for such cases there are different resources, such as eduzaurus, where you can find explanations or interpretations of different works of literature. And in my studies it helped me more than once)))
 

Max

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This is tough. I read some classics in school I enjoyed and I think some definitely still have their place, like The Outsiders and To Kill a Mockingbird, even the Great Gatsby. But Shakespeare is a harder sell not only for having such difficult and outdated language, but for having themes that I think are much harder to relate to the children reading them.

I have a bachelor's in English, and even I have a hard time understanding why some things like Shakespeare are pushed so hard on the public school system outside of preservation and maybe seeing what kind of writings got us where we are today/maybe influenced writings of today (or influenced stories that influenced stories in some cases). But even then, I think there could be different ways to approach it. Gosh, I don't know. It's not that I see no value in Shakespeare, but I think I see less value and value for different reasons in it than I do in stories like the other books I mentioned.

I think maybe when it comes to Shakespeare, it could be better as a focused study for a college student if they're interested in it. I think it could be introduced in public schools in some capacity without being made as big of a chore as it is, and then delved into more at the collegiate level.

Something else I find weird is that at my university I attended specifically, the senior thesis papers that had to be like, 20 pages varied in subject depending on which professor was working with the seniors that year. Some professors wanted to do works from Mark Twain or the like. I got stuck with the Shakespeare obsessed teacher and had to write about The Taming of the Shrew and Othello. Which was awful. I hated it, didn't care for Othello at all, Shrew was a little better, but I wished I could have put my time and energy into something I cared about instead. I just find it funny that in this case, what was taught and required to submit research on was based on what the professor enjoyed rather than on some universal criteria.
 
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