Gå til indhold
All news

To be or not to be global: Issues in High School English class

“We're doing our English orals, the internal assessment for English. You look at a global issue and choose two texts, one literary and one non-literary, and then you compare and analyse them and connect them to your global issue.”

“We all ended up doing King Lear by Shakespeare,” Nour, Iona and Franka say. “You pick anything between 20 and 40 lines to analyse, and you go into the exam and present for 10 minutes and then the teacher and examiner ask you questions for 5 minutes.”

So you’re working on the same text from different angles?
“Yes, that's more individual, which I like because they let us choose.” “They very much give you free creative reign. The global issue I am looking at is distribution of wealth and possessions, governments and power, class systems, things like that.” “I chose something similar: I look at materialism and what we value.” “Mine is about prejudice and discrimination due to social constructs.”

That sounds contemporary. Does that work with such an old text?
“The stuff that Shakespeare was talking about translates very well to today's society.” “Most of it is still relevant today. Unfortunately.”

We ask their teacher Rebecca if the global approach isn’t a bit universalist?
“The word ‘global’ is possibly a bit annoying, but the IB gives us quite broad parameters of interpretation. But I see your point, because they stipulate that it must be pan-national, and that doesn't allow it to be culturally specific. We were talking about the Merchant of Venice, which has anti-semitism in it, which is specific to a particular culture, but you can talk about prejudice on a broader level. We also looked at works by Grace Nichols, a Caribbean poet who talks about the history of slavery, and that could be extrapolated into something broader.”

But don’t you lose the specific experience when you extrapolate?
“The IB gives us many fields of inquiry, so almost every area of human experience can be seen as global. The students introduce the global issue but then they get down to the particularities of that particular text and dig into a specific issue. I think the global issue gives them something to aim at, rather than a carte blanche.”