RANFURLY Primary School teacher Brendan Alderton has been named one of four teachers in regional Victoria to receive a Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship.
In total, 30 teachers from regional, rural and remote Australian schools have received a fully-funded, year-long mentorship with the company.
Mr Alderton, PICTURED, will receive specialist training over four days at Bell Shakespeare headquarters in Sydney, focusing on practical and innovative strategies for teaching Shakespeare.
Once he returns to school, Mr Alderton will receive ongoing support from Bell Shakespeare artists and staff, as well as access to in-school and in-theatre programs to ensure engagement continues.
“I’m really looking forward to undertaking the mentorship, and bringing back what I learn,” he said. “I’m particularly looking forward to getting my head around the teaching strategies from a practical side of things.”
Mr Alderton said the opportunity to apply for the mentorship came about earlier this year.
“I had seen the mentorship advertised through social media, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity for not just myself personally, but for the school,” he said.
“I think it’s really important that primary school students have a firm understanding of Shakespeare’s work, as a lot of stories we see today are based on his plays.
“I also think it’s really important for students to understand the origins of drama and theatre… with Shakespeare recognised as one of the early playwrights.”
Bell Shakespeare tours take productions of Shakespeare’s plays and other classics to State capitals and more than 27 regional and rural centres each year, alongside an extensive education program of performances, workshops and professional development opportunities.
“Where possible the group travel regionally, and hopefully Mildura can become one of their destinations,” Mr Alderton said.
Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director, Peter Evans, said teachers are the first and last experience a student will have with Shakespeare in school.
“It is critical to our commitment to share Shakespeare’s works with all Australians regardless of age or location, that teachers be the champions through which we spread the relevance and understanding of Shakespeare,” he said.
“Many of these teachers’ students live in remote areas, and don’t always have access to reliable internet, a permanent library, or a local theatre. So teachers become our frontline.”
Bell Shakespeare general manager, Gill Perkins, said the Regional Teacher Mentorship was a program the company was “extremely proud of.”
“It has such an impact in smaller communities,” he said. “Without the support of our partners in this program, Teachers Mutual Bank and the Australian Government, we wouldn’t be able to equip teachers with creative and innovative ways to teach Shakespeare, strategies that can also be applied across the curriculum.”
The Regional Teacher Mentorship recipients will join Bell Shakespeare in two groups, from March 2 to 5 and from March 16 to 19.