Gina Voskov teaches English at the United Nations International School, New York, NY.
Robert Barker teaches English at The Pilgrim School, Los Angeles, CA.
Gabriel Fernandez teaches the Upward Bound Program for High School Students in San Antonio, TX.
The Merchant of Venice
What's On for Today and Why
- Explain the terms "authentic voice" and "inauthentic voice"
- Connect these terms to their own lives
- Examine multi-media depictions of super-heroes to discover how/what these characters are masking in their alternative selves
This lesson will take 1 x 50 minute class period.
(Day 2 and 3 will take 2 x 50 minute class periods)
What You Need
- Access to the Internet to show video clips
- Pens and paper
- Handout: T chart
- Handout: Monologue selection
Handout: T chart
Handout: Monologue Selection
What To Do
1. Have students watch videos of Bruce Wayne/Batman from the movie, Batman Begins (This shows the germination of his authentic persona, Batman, whereas Bruce Wayne eventually becomes the inauthentic persona).
Batman Begins -Parents' Death
Bruce Wayne "I own The Place"
2. Have students discuss the authentic/inauthentic qualities of Batman, as seen in the videos (Qualities: the things he did or said that seemed real or fake).
3. Have students develop definitions of "authentic" and "inauthentic" and share their findings/thoughts as a whole class.
4. Compare student definitions of these two terms with definitions of the terms in the Oxford English Dictionary.
5. Have students brainstorm times when people need to use an inauthentic voice (e.g a husband and wife talking about how they look, politicians, lawyers, talking to strangers, declining requests for charity on the street).
6. Have students reflect on times when they themselves might need to use an inauthentic voice. Provide students with these categories:
a) With family
b) With friends
c) With teachers
7. Have students share and discuss examples.
8. Divide students into small groups .
9. Have students create a T chart (see Handout 1) with 2 columns (Left column-What I say, Right column-What I want to say but can't).
Have students create confrontational scenarios for one of the settings above (family, friends, teachers), OR teacher may provide these scenarios as necessary.
(e.g You are invited to a party by a friend but you do not want to go. How do you politely decline the invitation?)
10. Have students create T charts for 2 different people involved in the scenario (e.g the person who is having the party, and the student who does not want to attend).
11. Have students suggest three lines of dialogue-each line should have two versions (what they say/what they want to say but can't).
12. Have students synthesize the two lists into a dialogue, mixing and matching from the columns. Character #1 might say two lines from the left column and one from the right and character #2 may do the opposite.
13. Have students present their dialogues to the class and discuss responses to the scenes. Prompt discussion with questions such as:
What lines sound authentic?
What lines sound inauthentic?
Do we think the characters needed to use the inauthentic voice at times?
When did they need to and when did they not need to?
14. Have students look at the list of monologues from The Merchant of Venice in preparation for Day 2.
How Did It Go?
Have each student complete the following sentence:
One thing I learned today about authentic voices is..."
If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.