Saturday, 07 November 2009

Shakespeare Saturday: School

Until my exams finish, I'm going to be a little focused on school. It always impresses me that Shakespeare's schoolday was almost certainly several hours longer than a typical schoolday today. He didn't study Calculus or English Lit either. Still I'm not sure much has changed when it comes to
the whining schoolboy with shining morning face.

I think if Shakespeare had known that his work would be studied in schools, he would have been most surprised that a subject like English Lit existed. Most kids aren't taught Greek or Latin, but they do read novels and plays at school. What the Elizabethans watched purely for entertainment, we watch for education, although the entertainment aspect hasn't been lost entirely.

It makes me wonder what will change in the school system in the next few hundred years. Maybe students will be expected to analyse the Beatles' songs or whine about the ancient blog posts they're expected to read. Maybe Literature will be studied as art instead of language. Maybe there'll only be a few schools that offer the ancient language English.

I wouldn't be surprised, though, if there turn out to be whining schoolchildren with shining morning faces. Some things don't seem to change.


  1. Yes, I wonder if English Lit will become just one of many options alongside World Lit, eventually.

  2. I think it will, if we don't all end up speaking the same language! Here in SA, it's compulsory to take (at least) two languages in high school - including lit - but neither has to be English.