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This engaging and informative lesson enables students to make clear, detailed and well-informed interpretations of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. In particular, students develop their contextual understanding of how Jews were perceived in Shakespeare’s time, make precise interpretations about his character using evidence from the text, before linking their findings to their social and historical understanding.
The lesson follows a step-by-step learning journey, in which children learn through:
Knowledge harvesting their understanding of the Judaism and the treatment of Jews throughout history;
Researching and sharing how Jews were perceived in Shakespeare’s era;
Reading selected quotations from the play and interpreting what these reveal about Shylock’s character;
Plotting Shylock’s development over the course of the play;
Linking their knowledge of Shylock’s character to their understanding of historical context;
Understanding Shakespeare’s intentions/messages in presenting Shylock in the manner that he did;
Peer assessing each other’s learning attempts;
Whole lesson PowerPoint - colourful and comprehensive;
Shylock character development graph;
Jigsaw pieces for the group jigsaw activity;
Comprehensive lesson plan.
There are also opportunities for group learning, speaking and listening, peer assessment, and whole class discussion. I originally used these resources with year 10 and 11 classes, however colleagues have used them for between year 8 and year 13 with some adaptations.
All images are licensed for commercial use, and image rights are listed on the last page of the presentation.