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Macbeth : from The Globe to the classroom

Macbeth: from The Globe to the classroom is a set of resources for secondary teachers of English based around Globe Education's Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Macbeth. The resource is designed to help teachers engage GCSE English and English Literature pupils in their study of the play, and improve assessed responses.

The resources include:

  • 10 units with lesson plans
  • supporting resource sheets and templates
  • five audio recordings of Globe actors and director talking about the play

What is the resource based on?

The resources are mostly based around a set of interviews (the audio clips) with the actors playing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and the Director of the 2010 Globe production of Macbeth, as well as some visually-stunning images of the production in action. While the audio clips and images are designed for use as part of the provided teaching sequence of 10 units, they can be used as you see fit.

What do the resources consist of?

There are 10 units, each dealing with a different aspect of the play's themes, ideas, characterisation and setting. Each unit consists of 2-4 lesson plans in a teaching sequence. There are 21 lessons in total. The units are supported by the a range of resources such as the audio clips and images, as well as original source material such as reviews, extracts from historical sources, and worksheets and templates for class use.

Which pupils are the resources most suitable for?

They are aimed primarily at GCSE pupils working towards exam or controlled assessment task responses to Macbeth and are quite challenging, providing the opportunity to target high level responses. However, all units can be modified. For example, Unit 7 requires pupils to compare key 'ghost scenes' in Macbeth with three other Shakespeare plays. You might instead choose to select just one if this meets the needs of your pupils. The resources, although targeted at GCSE pupils, may also be adapted for use at Key Stage 3.

How should I best use the audio clips?

You can use the audio clips entirely as you see fit, however you may find it useful to listen to them all (they are not long!) first. They are built into the lesson plans, but you do not have to use them this way. If you do choose to use them with your classes it may be best to:

  • listen to them once without the class/pupils making any notes or looking at the questions or related tasks
  • listen to them a second time with the questions provided in the plans (or ones of your own)
  • use them as a way of actively developing listening skills.

How can I best use the images?

Again, this is very much down to you. You might wish to download them to an interactive whiteboard, or print them out in full-colour for display or annotation. Bear in mind that the images provide a real opportunity, if this is how you choose to use them, to develop active reading skills, especially related to decoding and interpreting images.

How else can I personalise the units for my pupils?

Each unit contains references to key GCSE Assessment Objectives for English Literature, but the lessons can be further adapted by selecting appropriate objectives from the Framework for Secondary English, relevant to the needs and strengths of your pupils.  You can also add elements of the resource, or the resource as a whole to your existing schemes and plans. Equally, you could:

  • find further images to use alongside those provided
  • access other reviews of the play (or other Shakespeare plays).

How do the units link to GCSE assessment?

Unit 10 specifically provides preparation for extended written response to a specific task. However, the focus is on developing the generic skills needed for such tasks. You will know the specific requirements of the GCSE course you have selected, and pupils can transfer the skills they have developed accordingly. GCSE assessment of Shakespeare often requires pupils to link their study to other texts. There are several units that help with this in particular, but the main focus of the task is on exploring Macbeth in engaging ways.

Does the resource cover everything pupils need to know about Macbeth?

No – it is highly-focused on specific aspects arising from the Globe Education materials. However, this approach allows you to explore the materials in a sophisticated, in-depth way which should lead to greater pupil engagement and attainment.

How can my pupils track their progress?

Pupils can use the 'Macbeth journal template' (Resource 3) to assist reflection and evaluation (there is also a 'filled-in' version provided as Resource 2). This is best used at your discretion either during or after the lesson, and will enable pupils to jot down a record of what they have done, what has been learned, key language or events which will prove useful during extended responses – and so on. The journal is supplied in a format that can be adapted by you to include your own focuses or targeted areas.

What other resources does this scheme of work link with?

You may also like to have a look at, or use this resource alongside: