Thorpe, Adam (2019) Teaching Tragedy: Pedagogical Approaches to Shakespeare’s Othello. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The recent changes to the National Curriculum for English imposed by the Conservative government saw the need for English teachers to reimagine the ways in which their pedagogical practice engages students with the study of English Literature. As a consequence, these changes have also reverberated throughout post-16 education with the landscape of the teaching and study of Literature at A-Level underpinned by the government’s insistence on the promotion of British values through the study of the subject. This thesis examines pedagogical approaches and practices concerning the study of Shakespeare’s Othello in a post-16 educational setting and explores the ways in which teachers and students engage with the text within this new educational framework. The research methods consisted of a wide collection of responses to Othello produced by my students in the form of academic essays, individual and group presentations and class-based discussions over the duration of their two year A-Level course; this will be coupled with an evaluation of how the work of educational and Shakespearean scholars illuminates the ways in which students are able to bring presentist readings of the play in to the classroom. The findings of the research demonstrate a clear tension that exists at the heart of the study of English Literature between crypto-nationalist agenda prevalent throughout the Conservative government’s educational reforms and the multicultural, multidimensional makeup of the students it serves. This thesis seeks to explore and demonstrate the ways in which the study of Othello can overleap the boundaries in which it has been placed and connect students with the universality of Shakespeare’s work.

FINAL THESIS - THORPE.pdf - Accepted Version
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