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Problematizing Shakespeare’s teaching through the gaze of Human Rights: Educators’ perceptions and experiences regarding Human Rights themes in Shakespeare Education

Bronfman, Paulina (2019) Problematizing Shakespeare’s teaching through the gaze of Human Rights: Educators’ perceptions and experiences regarding Human Rights themes in Shakespeare Education. PhD thesis, University of York.

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The aim of the thesis is to explore educators’ perceptions regarding human rights themes in Shakespeare Education. The study focused on teachers’ perceptions and experiences because teachers have a fundamental role in promoting human rights education in schools. My assumption is that human rights have been progressively erased from the curriculum due to the subject transition from Citizenship education to PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education). As we will see in Chapter 1 (Framework of the study), there is an important discussion in the literature on the purpose and the relevance of Human Rights Education (HRE) but not enough research and analysis on how this could be done or reflection on potential methodologies to teach human rights. This thesis investigates the potentialities of Literature and Shakespeare to explore HR in schools but more widely the possibilities of Literature and drama to promote a culture of social justice in education. The data collection was focused on formal education and based on the perceptions of teachers who teach Shakespeare in English at Stage 3 and 4 (11 to 16 years old) in secondary schools in Northern England. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and observations. This research has a dual purpose: exploratory and illustrative (Denscombe, 2010), since it explores the perceptions of teachers and illustrates how these are materialised in classes. The study explores what human rights mean to these group of teachers, whether they thought these themes were present in the specific plays selected for this study and how they explored these themes within the class. In summary, teachers definitively identify the presence of human rights themes in Shakespearean plays. They recognised that it is an integral and relevant part, not just of Shakespeare’s plays, but of all literature. They suggested that human rights themes are implicit content and that the potential discussion of this subject within the teaching will depend essentially on the teacher’s approach to the play. They recognised that these themes are significant for teaching any work of literature, but they also diagnosed that they could be ignored in order to prevent sensitive or problematic discussions. Furthermore, they identified gender rights, religious rights, and ethnic rights as human right within the plays, although they mentioned later that they did not teach them as human rights. �

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Dr. Paulina Bronfman
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 12:34
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 12:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25227

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