Cowell Area School teacher to bring Shakespeare into class

Local teacher to bring Shakespeare back

A Cowell Area School teacher will this year be part of a mentorship program aimed at bringing Shakespeare into country schools.

Year 8-12 English and 7-8 Digital Technologies teacher Ricky Paveltish is one of 30 teachers from across regional Australia to take part in the Bell Shakespeare 2020 Regional Teacher Mentorship.

Theatre company Bell Shakespeare runs the program in an effort to provide country teachers with the skills to teach the works of playwright William Shakespeare in ways that resonate with students.

A Shakespeare enthusiast, Mr Paveltish said he signed up for the program because he wanted to learn the best ways to teach the playwright's works.

"I think life is all full of stories... it's why I like teaching English," he said.

"It's something I love teaching and Shakespeare is a big part of that."

He said while the perception of Shakespeare could be that his stories were "boring and outdated," the playwright remained the greatest wordsmith in history and with the right techniques was as relevant for students as ever.

"I think it would be brilliant to show them what stories are about," he said.

Mr Paveltish will head to the Bell Shakespeare headquarters in Sydney for a weekend, where he will watch the company's production of Hamlet with participating teachers at the Sydney Opera House.

However he said he was most looking forward to the workshops planned during the trip, which include specialist training in teaching Shakespeare's works.

The company's artistic director Peter Evans said the program was about developing the confidence of teachers who may have access to less resources due to their regional location.

"Our commitment is to work with and support teachers, helping them to enliven their students' experience with the ideas and language of Shakespeare - especially in areas that don't always have access to reliable internet, a permanent library, or a network of local teachers with whom to collaborate," he said.

"Teachers come away from the experience with the confidence to implement new approaches in the classroom and lesson plans that include more active and engaging methods of teaching."

While all teachers are required to undertake professional development, Mr Paveltish said regional teachers often had fewer options and needed to travel to find courses they were interested in, and he was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the fully-funded program.

"A lot of people would love to go to professional development but they can't," he said.

"To have something like this... I'm quite lucky."