Best Practices for Teaching Shakespeare: An Interactive Session

Madison, NJ (March 11, 2009) — Becton College of Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) will offer a seminar on Best Practices in Teaching Shakespeare for primary and secondary teachers in New Jersey.  An outgrowth of the annual Shakespeare Colloquiums held at Fairleigh Dickinson University each October since 1991, the interactive seminar will take place on Saturday, April 18, 2009, at FDU’s College at Florham, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ. 

The speakers will be Dr. Margaret M. Schaefer, Ridgewood High School, and Dr. Frank Occhiogrosso, Drew University.

Dr. Schaefer's discussion-workshop, running from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., will demonstrate ways to bridge the gap between teaching Shakespeare's plays as literary texts and as scripts that are meant to be seen and heard.  Using the example of “Romeo and Juliet,” she will define "the drama method" of approaching Shakespeare, discuss ways to integrate it with textual analysis, and lead a sample lesson using tableau and staged readings. 

Dr. Schaefer, who has taught at Ridgewood High School since 1988, was recognized as Outstanding High School Teacher in 1999 by the Ridgewood School District's Teacher Recognition Program. As Resident Director of the New Players Company, she directed over forty-five productions.  She has also served as Artistic Director of the New Players Company, among other theatrical activities.

After lunch, from 1-2 p.m., Dr. Occhiogrosso will closely analyze the speeches of the character Mercutio to uncover how Shakespeare, through language, conveys his unstable mental condition.  Editor of the volumes “Shakespeare in Performance: A Collection of Essays and “Shakespeare in Performance: New Essays,” Dr. Occhiogrosso was named Teacher-Scholar of the Year in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University in 1997 and Thomas H. Kean Professor of the Year in 2006.

The seminar will take place in the Bottle Hill Room (The Pub) Room in the Student Center at FDU’s College at Florham.  There is no charge for the event, and a complimentary continental breakfast (8:45-9 a.m.) will be provided.  Lunch (1-2 p.m.) will be served for a fee of $7.00.

The program is free to New Jersey teachers, but participants must register by April 6, 2009.  Attendance cannot be guaranteed after that date.  Registrants are asked to give adequate notice if they need to cancel. Attendees will receive five Professional Development Hours for their participation.

This seminar is a pilot project for future spring seminars on Best Practices for New Jersey teachers. The coordinators of the program are Dr. Harry Keyishian, Professor of English at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Becton College, and Dr. John Mucciolo, Superintendent of the Glen Ridge, NJ Public School District.  Teachers wishing to participate in the event or to inquire further may contact Dr. Keyishian at

For Immediate Release

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