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McDade teacher studies Shakespeare with distinguished scholars

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In June, a McDade teacher was selected to attend a prestigious professional development institute in Houston sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with Rice University.

John Pedersen, who teaches English language arts at McDade High School, participated in “Teaching Shakespeare,” which took place from June 17 through 20 on the Rice campus.

The institute covered topics including Shakespeare’s world, works and the sources he drew upon in his writing; approaches to teaching the major tragedies, comedies and sonnets; and intersections between Shakespeare and Latinx drama. The institute also included presentations on developing engaging writing assignments that emerge from the study of Shakespeare’s works.

Peggy O’Brien, director of education at the Folger Shakespeare Library, trained participants in performance-based teaching strategies. O'Brien worked with actors from the Houston Shakespeare Festival to demonstrate the interpretive possibilities of Shakespeare through performance.

J. Dennis Huston, Gladys Louise Fox Professor Emeritus of English at Rice University, delivered the institute’s keynote lecture. The program faculty included distinguished scholars from universities and educational institutions across the nation.

“I have learned so much new and interesting information about Shakespeare that I can share with my students to help them understand the plays,” said Pederson. “I have also learned some very helpful techniques to encourage students to get a deeper understanding and access into the text.”

“Teaching Shakespeare” was made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

For more information, visit www.humanitiestexas.org.