More Nimble Thinkers — For the Benefit of the Commonwealth

Lessons from Shakespeare's classroom cover

I love hearing actors deftly inhabit Shakespeare’s language and watching his stories unfold on stage until everyone is dead, dancing, or married. Reading his plays is a different story. I get tangled in the written language. Yet, reading Robin Lithgow’s manuscript, I didn’t trip, I got enchanted.

I couldn’t stop reading it. 

Granted, it’s written in modern English, but its subject — the drama and rhetoric that Shakespeare learned as a schoolboy, and employed in his plays, is featured throughout. Taking the reader back to the Bard’s school days caught and held my attention, because the way youth were taught then profoundly clashes with education today where  test scores are worshipped as the most potent indicators of learning.

Educators Erasmus and Mulcaster, and their students, including Shakespeare, would beg to differ. They didn’t turn into the most influential generation of playwrights in the Western world because they excelled at taking tests. Lithgow shows us how, and more importantly, why, their education prepared them to brilliantly tell stories of enduring resonance. 

I had the good fortune of helping Lithgow develop the manuscript for publication and edit the query letter, as well as, in collaboration with Susan Shankin of Precocity Press, write the pre-publication marketing plan

Our combined, collaborative efforts succeeded in reaching the most desired outcome — a 2023 publishing contract with one of the world’s most prestigious academic  publishers — Routledge. 

This is a book worth reading and sharing. 

...we have wandered far afield of the core purpose of education, which, yet again, is for the benefit of the commonwealth: the training up of citizens with the courage to think creatively and critically, to problem solve, and to exhibit what the famous 16th-century pedagogue, Richard Mulcaster, would have called good behavior and audacity.

“None of us are perfect, but all over the place in every community and field of endeavor, there are people who are working generatively with the challenges before us; meeting them, rising to their best human capacities — at least on their good days — and creating new possibilities and realities. They’re not publicized, they’re not investigated, but that landscape is as real and important as that landscape of everything we can point out as failing and corrupt and catastrophic. “

~ Krista Tippett
journalist, author, and entrepreneur