English teacher suggests Shakespeare should be voluntary in schools – but not cancelled

Zahara Chowdhury spoke to Eamonn and Isabel and GB News

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Teacher Zahara Chowdhury suggested the Bard, the only compulsory writer on the secondary English curriculum, puts students off literature as they can find the language inaccessible.

Speaking on GB News, she said: “I don’t think Shakespeare should be cancelled, nor should his texts be banned, I don’t think students should hate Shakespeare either.

“...But the accessibility of Shakespeare’s language for a range of students is actually quite difficult and then can form a barrier to students' enjoyment of literature.”

Presenter Isabel Webster responded saying the reason the texts are kept on the curriculum is because they are "historically the most successful items of British literature".

Zahara Chowdhury on GB News
Zahara Chowdhury on GB News
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Ms Chowdhury continued to insist the Bard has contributed to our understanding of culture and society today.

She said: “Students will constantly ask in lessons 'why are we still doing this miss?' and 'Is this still relevant, surely we can do something else?' Those questions can become quite exhausting and actually those students have a point."

Giving the example of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, she said: "There are so many other rich texts that can help make literature and language more accessible."

According to data from a national survey, Shakespeare's Macbeth is the most popular play taught in UK secondary schools while at age eleven A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest dominate.

Presenter Eamonn Holmes said: "I think the whole point of it is it should be a voluntary study not a compulsory study.

"People get to University, they can't spell and they cant use grammar and we’re forcing Shakespeare down their throat."

This article was previously titled: 'Shakespeare should be scrapped from GCSE syllabus for being 'difficult' - English teacher tells GB News'

It has now been amended as the headline was misleading. Rather than saying Shakespeare should be scrapped, Ms Chowdhury suggested his work should be made voluntary in secondary schools.