Shake­speare gives a lift to chil­dren, even at three

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Camilla Turner ED­U­CA­TION ED­I­TOR

SHAKE­SPEARE gives chil­dren as young as three a con­fi­dence boost, the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany’s di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion has said.

Ex­pos­ing pupils from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds to com­plex lan­guage al­lows them to be­come as elo­quent as their pri­vately ed­u­cated peers, ac­cord­ing to Jac­qui O’Han­lon, who said no one was too young to start learn­ing about the Bard.

Some schools be­gin teach­ing at nurs­ery schools, she added. “They are learn­ing new words all the time, ev­ery day. Shake­speare is just a new set of re­ally gor­geous, de­li­cious in­trigu­ing words. You ig­nite a cu­rios­ity about lan­guage. And that is a fan­tas­tic skill set, par­tic­u­larly for peo­ple from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds.”

The RSC has sup­ported the teach­ing of Shake­speare in schools for more than a decade, en­cour­ag­ing “re­hearsal room” tech­niques such as read­ing plays aloud and act­ing.

Ms O’Han­lon’s views are bol­stered by re­search at War­wick Uni­ver­sity that shows that 95 per cent of teach­ers found stu­dents more willing to con­trib­ute ideas and opin­ions in lessons hav­ing been en­riched by the lan­guage of Shake­speare.

The RSC will meet heads this sum­mer to present the find­ings of its re­search.

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