English in Action: The English-Speaking Union

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ESU Marks Shakespeare400 with Exclusive Summer Teacher Programs

The English-Speaking Union is continuing its year-long celebration of Shakespeare400 with exclusive opportunities for middle and high school teachers from across USA to spend the summer in the UK exploring the Bard's legacy. 

Teachers Study Abroad

Across the Atlantic, 24 dedicated American high school and middle school teachers are participating in the English-Speaking Union's three-week intensive program Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance program at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Most are attending as British Universities Summer School (BUSS) Scholars courtesy  of  local ESU Branches.

April Miller, Amanda Swann, Chon Lee on Southwark Bridge in front of Globe & Tate

During their time on the south bank of the Thames, these scholars live and breathe Shakespeare.  They immerse themselves in the life of this famous working theatre, a reconstruction of the 1599 Elizabethan playhouse. Their instructors are renowned Shakespearean scholars and members of the Globe Theatre Company responsible for design, direction, movement, music, text, and voice.  Currently in the midst of the program, the ESU scholars already feel the impact of experiencing these new approaches:

"My mind is reeling – I feel impassioned by my colleagues, my practitioners, this city, and the Globe," shared Amanda Swann, a scholar sponsored by the ESU Los Angeles Branch.

Jennifer Borg, a New York Branch scholar,reports "this experience has changed both my life and my teaching practice. I am not only developing as a teacher, I am also developing more as a person. This program has taken me out of my comfort zone, breaking down barriers and forcing me to think theatrically and creatively for both the sake of my students and myself.

The program concludes this week with the participants performing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream on the Globe stage. Each teacher then returns to the classroom with a wealth of experience and materials to implement the performance-based methods into their lessons, and a network of teachers to continue to inspire and share best practices for many years to come.

Since 1957, more than 2,500 American high school and middle school teachers have continued their own education and professional development thanks to the ESU and its exclusive summer study abroad program in the United Kingdom. For more information on the BUSS program and to follow the adventures of the ESU BUSS Scholars currently at the Globe -- and those studying at the University of Oxford and University of Edinburgh, the ESU's other prestigious partner institutions in the United Kingdom, visit the British University Summer School (BUSS) program page. 

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