Assia, aged 15, reviews our new online resource aimed at helping 11-18 year olds to master Shakespeare
Shakespeare's plays can be a real challenge for students with their difficult and unfamiliar language and style. The Shakespeare Learning Zone tries to support students with studying Shakespeare's plays so that they can overcome the challenges and really get to grips with them.
The Learning Zone consists of summaries and analysis of key scenes, useful facts, photographs and videos of actors and directors working on performances, and information about the main characters in a range of plays. At the moment there are resources for 9 plays (the ones most commonly studied in schools, but they've promised to add more every term.
This website has an incredible art style with distinctive features of emojis, representing the characters of the play, which is organised in a structure where younger users would find it fun and entertaining. Within the pages for each play, the information is divided into four sections: Story, Characters, Language and Staging. There are three levels of in-depth information, target at younger readers who are just getting to know Shakespeare's plays; slightly older readers who are beginning to study the plays in more detail; and more advanced readers such as those studying the plays for GCSE.
- In Story: a timeline of the play with detailed scene-by-scene descriptions.
- In Characters: a character map exploring different relationships between characters, and PEE grids on main characters
- In Language: analysis of themes and images plus videos of key scenes
- In Staging: pictures and information about RSC performances
The most useful feature on this website is the way that it is structured into three stages depending on how much depth and detail you want to study each play in. It enables younger readers to ge t involved with the concept of the play as they are able to interact with the character map and participate in activities. However, for the advanced readers, the Learning Zone would be useful for revision as it focuses on many of the areas being assessed at GCSE.
And teachers haven't been left out. The site provides them with notes and suggested activities so that they can support theirs students' learning and make their lessons more enjoyable.
To conclude, the Learning Zone is an excellent resource for developing an understanding of Shakespeare's plays and revising for exams. It can easily be used either at home or school, no matter what your age or ability is. It is fun engaging and interesting, and the fact that it has been created by the RSC means that it contains unique insights from some of the leading experts in Shakespeare. This website needs to be in everyone's bookmarks!
Visit the Shakespeare Learning Zone