Shakespeare, a name that resonates through the centuries, continues to have a strong impact on the English language and on modern society through his works and characters that transcend time and space.

That's why, as part of the Worldwise Events Programme, we have been partnering exclusively with RSC Learning, the education arm of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), since 2016, bringing world-class professional learning opportunities for teaching staff and remarkable benefits to our students which go far beyond enhanced acting skills.

Kicking off our seventh year of partnership was the highly anticipated Professional Development Programme that we offer annually to our Drama and English teachers.

This year, over 30 teachers from the Dulwich family, and our Dehong sister schools, spent three days being trained online by two renowned RSC practitioners, focusing on the fundamental principles of the RSC's pedagogical approaches to Shakespeare's work, allowing both new and experienced teachers to work on their practice. Each day focussed on a selection of texts, common to the English and Drama classrooms, and three stimulus questions to provoke reflection over the three days:

1. What is a rehearsal room approach?

2. How do we develop our learners into critical thinkers?

3. What relevance does Shakespeare have for contemporary learners?

Day 1: Creating a Community

In the first session, teachers focused on how to create a community of learners in their classrooms. and started to explore and unlock Shakespeare's language to enable students to understand themselves and the world we live in which is both essential and relevant to EAL learners and English speakers.


Day 2: Understanding Shakespeare

Diving deeper into the world of Shakespeare, the second day's focus was on approaches to Shakespeare's plot and Shakespeare's characters. Through a variety of exercises, teachers learned together how best to interrogate some of Shakespeare's most famous plays and, what themes might resonate with our students. As a result, teachers were equipped with a new set of pedagogical tools to tackle some of the difficult questions raised in Shakespeare's stories and by his characters.

Day 3: Applying the pedagogy

The final day provided a deep dive into how the pedagogy could be applied in the primary and secondary classroom. Teachers were divided into two groups and given focussed time to develop and share ideas. During the three days, teachers from across the school network had the opportunity, not only to learn from RSC, but also to share their own best practice and teaching methods. The event was an excellent platform for the teachers to connect and collaborate and maximise the benefits of being part of a family of schools.


Additionally, Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC's Director of Learning and National Partnerships, was also invited to attend one of the sessions to introduce the prestigious RSC Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare to our teachers, outlining how the process works, highlighting the potential collaboration between the teachers and the support available to them from the RSC throughout the process.


Teachers' Quotes

"I really experienced the sense of community in this year's workshops. People were very willing to share their experiences, and that made learning very fun for all of us. Thank you to the workshop leaders as well. I believe all the exercises that we went through will find their way into our lessons. Shakespeare play station, here we come!" -- Audrey Sim, Head of Drama, Dulwich International High School, Zhuhai

"This was a very engaging and useful series of workshops. I had a lot of fun as well as improved my pedagogical knowledge when it comes to teaching Shakespeare (and other areas of English literature). It was great to get to meet so many kind, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic teachers from other schools and from the RSC. I'm really looking forward to next year!" -- Louise Coleman, English Teacher, Dulwich International High School, Zhuhai

RSC Quotes

"It was a great pleasure to meet so many members of staff at DCI to discuss the kinds of research questions they want to explore in their classrooms. It was inspiring to talk about an array of possible research questions with a group of teachers who are so passionate about creating the best kinds of learning environments for their students. That really points to excellent practice – a focus on ensuring the pedagogy the teachers are adopting really does have a positive impact on learning outcomes for students." -- Jacqui O'Hanlon, Director of Learning and Partnerships, Royal Shakespeare Company

"It was an absolute pleasure to work with DCI staff on our recent Teacher Professional Development Course. Staff responded with great energy and enthusiasm and gave thoughtful responses around how the pedagogy might inform their classroom practice, and their teaching of Shakespeare's texts. I never fail to be impressed by how invested DCI staff are in their development, and the experiences that they offer to their young people in the classroom. " -- Katherine Fletcher ,Associate Learning Practitioner, Royal Shakespeare Company

At Dulwich College International, we believe that teachers are at the heart of everything we do. The goal of the Drama Professional Development Programme is to train our teachers to create the most exciting and insightful Shakespeare learning experiences for our students. It was just the first of many exciting events we will be hosting with RSC Learning this year; we can't wait for our students and teachers to experience even more world-class learning opportunities!

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