Insults by Shakespeare: A TEDTalk Lesson Worth Sharing

Subject: Arts

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad

Resource Type: Test Bank, Lesson Plan, Lecture (Notes, Audio or Video)

Date Released: N/A

Description: Insults by Shakespeare is a six-minute Ted Ed video as well as learning resources (multiple-choice questions and long-answer questions) and additional resources (PowerPoint and YouTube videos).


Date of Review: 2016-09-13 11:15:00

Review Details

Comprehensiveness: (The learning object covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately.) No
The video is quite brief at just over six minutes and only includes two examples: an insult from Hamlet, where Polonius is called a fishmonger, and series of insults from Romeo and Juliet, where the young men bite their thumbs at one another. It is a good introduction to the purpose of Shakespearean insults, but it would be useful to include a few more examples, perhaps from King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello, the other great tragedies; or even one from a history; and another from a comedy. There are eight multiple-choice and long-answer questions about the video to use as review. Again, it is a good start, but there could be more questions. A few additional resources are provided, such as a PowerPoint and links to YouTube videos that contain interesting and current commentaries on Shakespearean language, such as the links between hip hop and Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
Content Accuracy: (Content, including diagrams and other supplementary material, is accurate, error-free and unbiased.) Yes
The content is correct and objective. Some of the insults by Shakespeare could be interpreted differently. In fact, I found different definitions for some of them within just these resources.
Relevance/Longevity: (Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The content is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.) Yes
The content is up-to-date. The You Tube videos that are part of the additional resources are from 2012 and onward.
Clarity: (The learning object is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used.) Yes
The video uses accessible language so that students will be able to follow along easily. The voice over is done by a British woman, but her accent is not difficult to understand.
Consistency: (The learning object is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.) Yes
The terminology and framework within the video and resources is consistent.
Modularity: (The learning object is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The learning object should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader. The ranking of N/A can be used if the object is already small and therefore would not be used in smaller parts.) Yes
The video and materials are short and easy to use within the classroom.
Organization/Structure/Flow: (The topics in the learning object are presented in a logical, clear fashion.) Yes
Yes, the topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion. The video appears first and is also listed under the heading Watch, and to the right there are two more links: Think, which contains the multiple-choice and long-answer questions; and Dig Deeper, which includes the additional resources.
Interface: (The learning object is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.) Yes
One of the video links, Horrible Histories, that is provided as an additional resource doesn’t work because it’s been removed due to copyright restrictions from the BBC. Other than that, the interface is user-friendly.
Grammatical Errors: (The learning object contains no grammatical errors.) Yes
There are no grammatical errors in the materials.
Cultural Relevance: (The learning object is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.) Yes
While the insults can be seen as offensive, there are meant to be so, and students will likely see the humour and purpose of them.
Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I like Ted Talks and didn’t realize that there are Ted Ed videos and lesson plans. It may be useful for faculty to see what other topics are offered that may work within their classrooms.
Level: (For what level would this text be appropriate (i.e. First Year, Second Year, etc)?)
These resources would be appropriate at the high school level or first-year post-secondary level. Some materials could possibly be adapted for higher levels.
Subject Matter:
English, History
1st Year Undergrad
Test Bank, Lesson Plan, Lecture (Notes, Audio or Video)

Peer Reviewer Name: Sonia Perna

License for this resource: N/A