I recently travelled to the far south of Germany, close to the Swiss border, to attend the first of three workshop weeks that are part of our EU-funded learning project CultureShake. The tranquil town of Singen is home to one of the schools involved in the project. The project is designed to use Shakespeare in multilingual classroom settings to raise language awareness and overcome intercultural differences.
Twenty-four students from both Friedrich-Woehler-Gymnasium in Singen and Stiftelsen English School in Gothenburg, Sweden met for the first time to start their three-year journey with the program. During these three years they will be exploring Shakespeare in English and sixteen other languages. The students took part in a variety of interactive activities, and they used their week in Germany to get to know each other, study their wealth of languages, as well as work on their budding Shakespeare expertise.
This initial meeting focused on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Throughout the week, the students had the opportunity to explore both the town and the play through a geocache. The students also filmed short scenes of the play on their iPads to create video material they plan to use for peer teaching resources through the course of the project.
After an introduction to Shakespeare’s life and times, which included the question of how Shakespeare’s English differs from Modern English, they then started to work on their own Shakespeare online dictionary by translating terms they came across in A Midsummer Night’s Dream into their home languages.
The students will now continue to work with their peers digitally until we meet again in Stratford this September, where we will explore a new play together, The Tempest, and continue to work on the online dictionary with the help of the SBT’s library full of translations.
This international collaboration is a joy to be part of; working with the project team has been great, and all the children are exceptionally alert and eager, so they are a real joy to teach. I am very much looking forward to welcoming them to the Shakespeare Centre this autumn. If you want to see more pictures or want to be kept in the loop about all our activities, please visit www.cultureshake.eu.