Andrea Dengate

Subject Shakespeare Studies
Course MA Shakespeare and Education
Country United Kingdom
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Hi Andrea! I am an experienced teacher trainer from an English teacher trainer here in Argentina and I also have a BA in literature and linguistics from a university in BA. I teach English language ( with a literature module), grammar and linguistics. Also, I am a Renaissance History Key Stage 3 teacher. However, I have never taught literature per se except in my language courses (the literature module) and varied replacement classes. Also, I am not very good at or fond of public speaking so I do not know if that would be a disadvantage or not. I am a bit uncertain about the contents, whether I will like them or not, although I do like Shakespeare. I was thinking if you could give me your thoughts. Thanks in advance. Best

Hi Sebastian

I am not sure of the exact course content this year as I completed my MA a couple of years ago now.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and learnt an awful lot about Shakespeare and the texts that we studied in the various modules.  I don’t think it makes any difference if you have taught much Shakespeare although it is useful to already have a good understanding of some of the plays and the period and style of writing.  I completed all, except one of my modules online, so there was no public speaking involved.  The module I attended in Stratford was also very low-key and a small, friendly, supportive group and tutor so no problems with presentations to the rest of the group.  There was a wide range of teachers taking part in the course from many different backgrounds and experience.  The tutors are very aware of the different starting points for their students but also expect that you will work hard to take everything on board.  The course really challenged me to go back to learning and to develop my understanding of Shakespeare and to do my own research.  If you do decide to go for it, good luck!

Hi Andrea, I am a full time teacher considering a distance learning part time masters course and wondered whether you are doing yours in 2 or 3 years, and roughly how many hours of study per week you do?


I completed my course in 2 years as that suited me best.  It’s difficult to work out how many hours a week I spent on it as it depended on whether it was reading or essay writing.  I used Sundays for watching Panopto recordings of seminars and commenting on them and preparing for the next week’s session.  I would spend about an hour each evening reading in preparation for the sessions or essays.  I needed to be quite well organised to fit the essay writing around school holidays but it wasn’t too difficult if I kept on top of everything.  As my dissertation was directly linked to my teaching there were overlaps of time too.  I really enjoyed the experience and found it could be managed around full time teaching.  Good luck.

What, for you, are the best things about the course?

The best things about the course is its relevance to my professional work as a teacher but also, introducing me to aspects of Shakespeare study that were very unexpected. The quality of teaching could not be faulted. The ease at which I was able to access all course work and seminar sessions online was extremely helpful and made me feel I was part of this academic community although many miles away. The course structure also took account of my other commitments to allow me to study in the way that was best for me.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

My advice for others is to take the plunge. I had been out of studying at this level for a very long time and was not sure that I could cope academically at first. However, before the course began, study skills sessions and resources were available and this gave me the confidence to tackle the work presented to me. Being well organised is really helpful too, in managing coursework, essay deadlines and a full-time job and family commitments.

What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

The highlight of my time was the module on Shakespeare and Pedagogy as this was the only module not done by distance learning. Attending lectures, workshops and sessions in Stratford for an intensive week and finally getting to meet others on my course was very exciting. Working with professionals from the RSC Education Department was inspirational. I even got to the theatre twice during the week.

Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

I chose the University of Birmingham as both the course and style of delivery suited my particular situation. Working full-time as a teacher in Kent meant that full-time studies were not possible for me and doing the course by distance learning meant I was not tied to a local university. The obvious expertise of the staff of The Shakespeare Institute was a big appeal too.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

My main motivation for undertaking post-graduate study was the desire to become really involved in one aspect of Drama rather than have a little knowledge about many different areas. I was also looking for a course which focused primarily on Drama and not education philosophy or management. My children were both now at university themselves and so I had the time to pursue my own interests.