Professional Development Details

Teaching Shakespeare in Iowa
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Shakespeare is alive and well in our contemporary culture—including in classrooms across Iowa, a state which has a long history of teaching, learning about, and transforming Shakespeare and his works. This course will offer a range of practices and strategies that teachers can use to bring Shakespeare to life in the twenty-first century. Participants will learn how to enhance students’ reading comprehension of required Shakespearean texts and contexts, and how to explore and evaluate the many digital resources available online. Through a series of readings, discussions, writing exercises, and hands-on activities, participants will engage with and actively build the skills and tools needed to understand the various versions of Shakespeare: on the page and on the stage, from the local to the global. This course will offer the opportunity to create assignments and activities that teachers can immediately implement in their classrooms, while at the same time demonstrating how Shakespeare inhabits our current textual and cultural environment.


Reading Shakespeare is a requirement, albeit one that both students and teachers often approach with trepidation. Conventional modes of teaching focus on the aesthetic or ethical merit of Shakespeare, but new strategies and practices are placing Shakespeare within broader cultural and institutional frameworks. Reading Shakespeare now constitutes a form of media literacy, one which can enhance a range of skills beyond those strictly relating to the “bard.” My teaching is based not only on my own research and experience as a professor of Shakespeare, but on the best practices developed by the Folger Shakespeare Library. This approach combines text and performance, and emphasizes active reading, speaking, listening, and writing. I have been formally trained in Shakespearean pedagogy at the Folger, and have also developed and led pedagogical workshops at the Folger Institute. My aim is to bring this expertise to the teachers of Iowa in order to enhance the textual and technological skills of their students.

Course Requirement

Requirements will include active discussion and participation, brief preparatory readings, and a series of short exercises that will result in the development of a comprehensive lesson plan.


Participants will be asked to read and to bring a critical edition of Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Othello. (Examples of editions will be provided). Additional brief supplementary readings will be provided by the instructor. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops.


Adam G. Hooks, Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Center for the Book 

Teacher Leader Center, 110 Lindquist Center North
Iowa Licensure Renewal Credit

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