Creative Shakespeare : exploring a creative pedagogy for teaching The Merchant of Venice at Grove End Secondary school within their English home language learning area.
This dissertation is an investigation of a creative pedagogical approach formulated to teach the Shakespearean play in a KwaZulu-Natal public high school, namely Grove End Secondary in Phoenix, Durban. The study explores how my formulated creative pedagogy for teaching The Merchant of Venice (1980) functions as an alternate creative teaching methodology to the current pedagogical approach, namely the text-based approach, which appears not to acknowledge the performative element inherent within Shakespearean plays. This study argues that through creative learning processes such as drama in education, creative drama, experiential learning, group dynamics and playmaking, learners can engage the performative aspect within the plays. The study also argues that creative learning processes can diminish the apprehension with which learners currently approach Shakespearean play study, since creative processes stimulate the learners’ imaginative ideas, as opposed to the educator-centered text-based approach, which requires little or no input from the learners during the learning process. Through the implementation of the creative pedagogy with eighteen learners from Grove End Secondary, the research aimed firstly, to evoke a positive attitude change from learners towards Shakespearean play study and secondly, to guide the learners towards a better understanding of the Shakespearean play narrative and Shakespearean language. The research was conducted through classroom action research. Research methods included data collection of journals, surveys, and questionnaires that were analysed throughout the course of the case study. Outcomes of the continuous data analysis reflected upon during the case study resulted in the adaptation of the creative pedagogy to suit the learners’ needs. The qualitative nature of this research led to findings which reveal that the creative pedagogy is an effective methodology for teaching Shakespearean plays, but is problematic when trying to integrate the educational aims of the creative pedagogy, with the constraints and structures of the current curriculum and public school system. The research also produces data which can benefit future inquiry into the creative teaching of Shakespearean plays in KwaZulu-Natal public high schools.