Transcript: Parental Pressure - Shakespeare's Portrait (May 16/2001) | May 16, 2001

(music plays)

An animated slate shows the title inside the shape of a house: "More to family." The opening sequence shows a wooden table with a small lit candle. Fast clips show different sets of hands performing activities on the table such as pulling petals from a daisy, drawing a big red heart, tuning a violin, flipping through the pages of a book, cooking, and pouring a glass of red wine. In animation, the title appears inside the shape of a house: "More to life."

Then, Maureen Taylor appears in a studio with textured yellow walls and the logo of the show in the background, which reads "More to life."

Maureen is in her late thirties, with wavy auburn hair in a bob. She's wearing a dark blue blazer over a red blouse.

She says Hello, welcome to More to Life. I'm MAUREEN TAYLOR. LATER IN THE PROGRAMME, A SHAKESPEAREAN EXPERT TALKS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT AN ONTARIO FAMILY HAS A TRUE PORTRAIT OF THE BARD. BUT FIRST, I WONDER WHAT SHAKESPEARE WOULD MAKE OF TODAY'S VERSION OF CHILDHOOD. KIDS DON'T BUILD SAND CASTLES AND TREE FORTS. INSTEAD THEY BUILD THEIR RESUMES. THE CARE-FREE CHILDHOOD HAS BEEN REPLACED BY AFTER SCHOOL TUTORING AND PIANO LESSONS. DOES ALL THIS PRESSURE ACTUALLY HELP OUR KIDS IN THE LONG RUN? PROFESSOR BRUCE RYAN TEACHES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY RELATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. HE'S HERE TO TALK ABOUT HIS RECENT STUDY ON KIDS AND PARENTAL PRESSURE.

Bruce is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with side-parted wavy white hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and a printed black tie.

Maureen continues DO YOU WORRY THAT YOU ARE CROSSING THE LINE BETWEEN ENCOURAGEMENT AND PRESSURE? WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO HELP CHILDREN REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL. GIVE US A CALL with YOUR QUESTIONS AND STORIES.

A caption reads "416-484-2727. 1-888-411-1234."
Then, it changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Maureen says PROFESSOR RYAN, WELCOME. HI.

Bruce says THANK YOU.

Maureen says TELL US WHAT YOUR STUDY LOOKED AT.

The caption changes to "Professor Bruce Ryan. Educational Psychologist."

Bruce says WELL, WE'VE DONE ACTUALLY A SERIES OF STUDIES THAT ARE REALLY FOCUSED ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WHAT HAPPENS IN FAMILIES, PARTICULARLY WHEN THE PARENTS ARE... PARENTS ARE INTERACTING WITH THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT SCHOOL ISSUES AND SCHOOL MATTERS. WE WANTED TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THOSE KINDS OF INTERACTIONS WITH PARENTS AND THE OUTCOMES FOR THE CHILDREN IN SCHOOL, BOTH ACADEMIC ONES AND SOCIAL ONES.

Maureen says AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Bruce says WELL, WE'RE GENERALLY... GENERALLY FINDING THAT THE AFFECTS OF THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN ON ACHIEVEMENT REALLY DEPEND ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHILD.

Maureen says HMM.

Bruce says SO IF A PARENT, FOR EXAMPLE, PUTS PRESSURE ON A CHILD WHO'S PRETTY SCOMPAIBL PRETTY WELL-ORGANIZED ABOUT SCHOOL AND IS MAKING GOOD EFFORT THEN THE ACHIEVEMENT PROBABLY IS GOING TO BE FINE. BUT IF A CHILD IS NOT SO SKILLED ACADEMICALLY AND IS PERHAPS A BIT LOST IN THEIR WAY AND SO ON, THEN THE PRESSURE MAY BE SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T HELP AND MIGHT MAKE THINGS A BIT WORSE SO THERE ISN'T ANY SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN SAY ABOUT PARENTAL PRESSURE, IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE CHILD AND THE PARENTS' UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF THEIR OWN CHILD AND HOW THAT CHILD'S LIKELY TO RESPOND IN THAT KIND OF SITUATION.

Maureen says GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRESSURE AND BAD PRESSURE.

Bruce says WELL, I GUESS WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THAT PRESSURE THAT WE CALL BAD IS SOMETHING THAT THE CHILD PERCEIVES AS BEING AN UNREASONABLE DEMAND. IF THE CHILD THINKS THAT A DEMAND IS OKAY, THAT I CAN DO THAT, THEN THE CHILD WON'T THINK OF THAT AS A BAD PRESSURE, THEY'LL EXPERIENCE IT AS A, AS AN, AN URGING AND A PRESSING. BUT IF THE CHILD IS FEELING OVERWHELMED, THEY WILL FEEL THAT A DEMAND IS BAD OR UNFAIR, AND THE SAME COMMAND OR THE SAME DEMAND FROM A PARENT, DEPENDING ON THE CHILD, COULD BE BAD OR GOOD.

Maureen says SO TELLING A CHILD WHO'S STRUGGLING IN SAY MATH THAT YOU YOU EXPECT AN 80 BY THE END OF THE TERM WOULD BE UNREALISTIC AND THE CHILD WILL FEEL THAT THAT'S NEGATIVE PRESSURE.

Bruce says WELL, GENERALLY A CHILD WILL SAY A PRESSURE A BAD ONE IF THEY FEEL THEY CAN NEVER SATISFY IT WITH THE PARENT NO MATTER HOW I COME HOME WITH MY MARKS OR MY WORK, NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY...

Maureen says YOU'RE NEVER HAPPY.

Bruce says IT'S NEVER GOOD ENOUGH. THEN THAT WOULD BE ONE WE WOULD WANT TO CALL BAD PRESSURE. MOSTLY BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY THE CHILD EXPERIENCES IT.

Maureen says DO YOU THINK THE FAMILY DYNAMIC AROUND THIS AREA HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST SAY TWO, THREE DECADES?

The caption changes to "Today's topic: Kids and parental pressure."

Bruce says WELL, I THINK THAT THE PICTURE FOR PARENTS HAS GOT TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY COMPLICATED, AND THERE WAS A TIME WHEN FAMILIES, PARENTS, THE WHOLE SOCIETY KNEW THAT WAS SET OF RULES. AND THE KIDS FELL RIGHT IN WITH THOSE RULES AND PRETTY MUCH STAYED IN LINE. NOW I SAY THAT KNOWING THAT WE'VE ALWAYS HAD KIDS THAT HAVE HAD PROBLEMS, AND SO ON. BUT IN OUR CURRENT DAY SOCIETY, AS IT'S EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 30 TO 40 YEARS, THE PICTURE HAS BECOME FAR MORE COMPLEX BECAUSE A LOT MORE WAYS OF BEING ARE NOW MORE ACCEPTABLE AND AS WE BECOME MORE MULTI CULTURAL AND WE BEGIN TO RECOGNIZE DIFFERENT WAYS OF DOING THINGS AND DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOALS, IT'S NOT SO CLEAR ANYMORE FOR BOTH PARENTS AND KIDS OF WHAT'S TO BE DONE. AND HOW ONE IS TO ACT. SO WHAT USED TO BE AN "ACCEPTABLE" REQUIREMENT FROM A PARENT ON A CHILD OFTEN ISN'T ANYMORE. THE CHILD WILL KNOW LOTS OF OTHER KIDS FOR WHOM THAT ISN'T A REQUIREMENT. AND SO THERE'S... THAT LEADS TO A LOT OF CONFUSION IN THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN THE PARENTS AND THE KIDS.

The caption changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Maureen says SO IN YOUR VIEW, DO PARENTS EXPECT TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE FROM THEIR CHILDREN TODAY?

Bruce says WELL THAT... I DON'T THINK YOU CAN MAKE A GENERALIZATION ABOUT THAT. I MEAN, IT REALLY DOES DEPEND. SOME PARENTS PROBABLY HAVE AN UNREALISTIC ASPIRATIONS FOR THEIR PARTICULAR KIDS, GIVEN WHAT THEIR KIDS ARE ABLE TO DO OR REALLY WHAT THE KIDS ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN. IF A CHILD IS, HAS A VERY STRONG ARTISTIC BENT AND SON, INSISTING THAT THEY BE A MATHEMATICIAN OR A SCIENTIST PROBABLY ISN'T A SENSIBLE THING TO DO WITH THEM. IN EARLIER TIMES, WHEN MANY PARENTS WERE MUCH LESS SFES INDICATED THEMSELVES IN THE WORLD OF EDUCATION, THEY DIDN'T IN MANY WAYS KNOW ENOUGH. I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I DON'T THINK IN MY PARENTS' CIRCLE MORE THAN VERY FEW HAD EVER BEEN TO A UNIVERSITY SO THEY DIDN'T DEVELOP THEIR COMPLEX IDEAS ABOUT WHAT HAD TO HAPPEN IN TERMS OF THE KIDS' EDUCATION. BUT TODAY IT'S VERY DIFFERENT.

Maureen says YEAH. HOW MANY PARENTS, YOU KNOW, LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY WHEN THEIR CHILDREN WILL BECOME PLUMMERS? AND YET GREAT LIFE. YOU KNOW, YOU YOU MAKE A LOT OF MONEY AS A PLUMMER BUT NOTHING'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR OUR GENERATION EXCEPT THAT UNIVERSITY DEGREE.

Bruce says AND WE'VE REALLY PUSHED THAT HARD, HAVEN'T WE?

Maureen says YEAH, AND IT'S UNREALISTIC TO EXPECT EVERY CHILD TO ACHIEVE THAT.

Bruce says FOR MANY. YEAH.

Maureen says WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PARENTAL EXPECTATION, PRESSURE AND ACHIEVEMENT IN OUR CHILDREN THIS AFTERNOON. IF YOU HAVE STORIES OF YOUR OWN OR QUESTIONS, MY GUEST IS PROFESSOR BRUCE RYAN WHO IS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH AND HAS DONE A LOT OF RESEARCH INTO FAMILY DYNAMICS, CHILD ACHIEVEMENT AND PARENTAL EXPECTATION. CALL US IN TORONTO AT...

A caption reads "416-484-2727. 1-888-411-1234."
Then, it changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Maureen says SUSAN IS IN RAINY RIVER. HI SUSAN, WELCOME.

The Caller says GOOD AFTERNOON. I'M THRILLED TO HEAR A DOCTOR WHO ACTUALLY SEES THAT CHILDREN ARE ALL DIFFERENT AND REACT DIFFERENTLY. I FIND MYSELF WITH A NINE-YEAR-OLD SON AND AN ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, AND MY DAUGHTER, EVERYTHING SEEMS TO COME EASY TO SHE'S GOT A WALLFUL OF TROPHIES, SHE GOES TO SCHOOL, SHE GETS STRAIGHT As AND MY SON IS SO OPPOSITE, HE'S EVEN LANDED, BUT HE STRUGGLES. HE STRUGGLED TO FIND HIS OWN WAY. I THINK HE COMPARES HIMSELF TO HIS THEIR AND DOESN'T SEEM TO MEASURE UP. AND I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR WAYS TO HELP HIM BE HIS OWN PERSON. AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIS OWN ACCOMPLISHMENTS, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE DIFFERENT.

Maureen says SO HE'S HARDER ON HIMSELF MAYBE THAN YOU ARE ON HIM.

The Caller says VERY MUCH SO.

Maureen says OKAY. ALL RIGHT. WHAT DO YOU THINK, PROFESSOR?

Bruce says WELL THIS IS A VERY COMMON SITUATION. I MEAN, WE'RE HEARING MORE AND MORE OF IT, WHERE BOYS ARE GETTING LOST IN THE SYSTEM. GIRLS ARE DOING GREAT, AND BOYS ARE STRUGGLING. NOW, I THINK THIS IS A BIG CHANGE FROM AN EARLIER TIME WHEN GIRLS WERE SYSTEMATICALLY SHUNTED ASIDE, I THINK IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, AND THEIR POTENTIAL WAS REALLY UNDER APPRECIATED AND LOST. AND BOYS DID NOT HAVE HALF THE WORLD COMPETING WITH THEM THE WAY THEY DO NOW. SO WE'RE LEFT WITH A SITUATION WHERE THIS PARENT IS DOING HER ABSOLUTE BEST TO FIND A WAY TO SUPPORT HER SON IN THIS ENTIRELY NEW WORLD, WHERE HARDLY ANY OF US REALLY KNOW THEIR WAY THROUGH IT, THAT'S EASY. SO I THINK CONTINUING TO BE SUPPORTIVE AND CONSTANTLY STAYING IN CONNECTION AND COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR SON IS THE BEST WAY TO GO TO... TO IGNORE HIM OR GIVE UP ON HIM WOULD BE DISASTROUS. IT'S TOUGH BECAUSE I THINK THE WHOLE SOCIETY IS BEGINNING TO APPRECIATE THAT TOO MANY BOYS ARE GETTING LOST, AND PARENTS DON'T HAVE THE KIND OF CULTURAL AND GENERAL SUPPORT IN THE SOCIETY THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM. I THINK WE WILL GET THERE. IT MAY TAKE SEVERAL MORE YEARS FOR US FULLY TO GRASP WHAT'S HAPPENED, AND HAPPENING. AND FIND WAYS TO PUT IN PLACE STRUCTURES THAT WILL HELP PARENTS, BUT I WOULD RECOMMEND, WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS MOTHER DO, EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S BEEN DOING.

Maureen says SHE MENTIONED HER DAUGHTER HAD A WALLFUL OF TROPHIES SO OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OUTSIDE OF ACADEMICS AS WELL. IS THAT IMPORTANT? IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT BRINGING HOME HIGH MARKS ACADEMICALLY, IS IT GOOD TO FOSTER SOME OTHER TALENT IN THEM? WHETHER IT'S ATHLETIC OR MUSICAL OR ARTISTIC?

Bruce says OH, I THINK THAT'S ABSOLUTELY KEY. A PARENT... THAT'S PART OF A WAY A PARENT SUPPORTS, IS TO ENCOURAGE THE STRENGTHS, AND THE INTERESTS THAT A CHILD SUGGESTS OR BEGINS TO EXPRESS. TOO OFTEN I THINK WE DON'T NOTICED WHEN WE PROBABLY OUGHT TO. AND ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT, AND THEY ALL ARE UNIQUE, AND A PARENT REALLY NEEDS TO BE CONSTANTLY WATCHING AND THE KIDS CHANGE, YOU KNOW? WHAT WAS TRUE SIX MONTHS AGO PROBABLY ISN'T NOW. SO YOU'VE CONSTANTLY GOT TO BE KEEPING TRACK AND INTEGRATING THE NEW INFORMATION WITH THE OLD AND LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BE INTERESTED IN AND SUPPORTIVE OF THE KIDS.

Maureen says OKAY. ALL RIGHT, GOOD LUCK, SUSAN. THANKS FOR YOUR CALL. MAYA IS IN OAKVILLE. HI MAYA.

The Caller says YES, HI. I WAS CALLING JUST TO ASK THE PROFESSOR TO COMMENT ON AN OBSERVATION THAT I'VE NOTICED BOTH AS A TEACHER AND ALSO AS A PARENT OF TWO YOUNG CHILDREN, A THREE AND FIVE-YEAR-OLD IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE I LIVE IN. AND MYSELF INCLUDED, WE CERTAINLY START OUR CHILDREN YOUNGER AND YOUNGER IN VERY STRUCTURED PROGRAMMES, BE IT JIM GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, SOCCER, HOCKEY, THERE'S EVERYTHING THERE FROM AGE TWO AND UP AND MY QUESTION IS WHAT I'M NOTICING, WHEN GUY TO PICK MY CHILD UP FROM ONE OF THESE PROGRAMMES AFTER I'VE OBSERVED HIM, PARENTS WILL RUN TO THE TEENAGED INSTRUCTOR AND WILL SAY "HOW'S MY CHILD'S SKILL DEVELOPMENT? WILL MY CHILD PROGRESS TO THE NEXT SFLEFL I THINK MY CHILD'S GIFTED. THEY'RE NOT BEING SINGLED OUT ENOUGH. THEY'RE NOT REACHING THE SKILLS THEY NEED FOR THE NEXT LEVEL OR DO YOU THINK THEY'LL PASS?" AND MY QUESTION TO THE PROFESSOR IS I CAN RECALL GROWING UP IN THE LATE 60s, EARLY 70s, STARTING ALL THESE PROGRAMMES AT KINDERGARTEN AGE, AGE FIVE, AND MY QUESTION THAT I WANT TO KNOW IS DOWN THE ROAD, ARE CHILDREN TODAY GOING TO BURN-OUT? YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY'RE BEING PUSHED SO EARLY? AND MY SECOND QUESTION, AND I'M SAYING THIS NOT IN A NEGATIVE FASHION, BUT WHY IS IT THAT MOST OF US, MYSELF INCLUDED TO A CERTAIN EXTENT HAVE THE NOTION THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE GIFTED AT ALMOST EVERY VENUE? BECAUSE I THINK IT'S PUTTING A LOT OF PRESSURE ON THE CHILDREN. I HAVE NEVER SEEN OVER THE LAST DECADE, SINCE I'VE HAD MY OWN CHILDREN, SO MANY CHILDREN THAT HAVE TO BE BRIBED AND PUSHED FOR PROGRAMMES. WHETHER IT'S "I'LL TAKE YOU TO McDONALDS AFTER" OR I'LL BUY YOU SWIM GOGGLES IF YOU GO TO SWIM CLASS. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

Maureen says OH, YEAH, WE'VE BRIBED OUR CHILDREN TO DO A LOT OF THINGS BUT MIGHT I JUST SAY, NEITHER OF THEM IS GIFTED.

Bruce says MY GOODNESS, THERE'S A LOT IN THAT COMMENT. WHETHER KIDS ARE GOING TO BURN OUT, I DON'T KNOW. KIDS ARE AMAZINGLY RESILIENT AND THEY LEARN TO COPE AND THEY LEARN TO DEAL WITH WHATEVER ENVIRONMENT SEEMS TO COME THEIR WAY. BUT NEVERTHELESS, I THINK YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. WE SEEM TO HAVE DEVELOPED A, A CULTURE THAT ADVANCES ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS IN FAIRLY NARROW RANGE OF THINGS. MANY, MANY YEARS AGO, A, AN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER IN THE UNITED STATES STARTED INTERVIEWING COLLEGE STUDENTS ON WHAT WAS THE MOST VALUED THING FOR THEM IN SEEKING EDUCATION AND IN THE '60s IT WAS TO DO GOOD FOR THE WORLD AND TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY AND SO ON. AND THESE DAYS... THEY'VE CONTINUED TO ASK THESE SAME QUESTIONS IN THE LAST 30, 34 YEARS. STUDENTS THESE DAYS ARE PUTTING MATERIAL SUCCESS AHEAD OF EARNING AN INCOME AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SO WE'VE GOT A WHOLE SOCIETY THAT ADVANCES THAT PARTICULAR KIND OF GOAL, WHICH MEANS YOU'VE GOT TO BE... IN ORDER TO BE OBVIOUSLY SUCCESSFUL, YOU'VE GOT TO BE AHEAD OF EVERYBODY ELSE. AND IF YOU'RE MERELY AVERAGE, IT MEANS YOU'RE NOT AHEAD OF ANYONE. SO WE'VE GOT A WHOLE SYSTEM OF VALUES THAT'S COMPLICATING OUR TASK, I THINK AS A SOCIETY AND AS PARENTS. SO THAT WE THINK WELL, IF WE GET THEM STARTED EARLY, AND WE, AND WE DON'T MISS ANY OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE SURE OUR CHILD HAS AN ADVANTAGE, THAT WE UNDERSTAND UP DOING THIS KIND OF THING. AND IT MAY INDEED CREATE A SET OF GOALS THAT ARE JUST BEYOND SO MANY KIDS THEY CAN'T DO IT.

Maureen says YEAH, I HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS WHOSE CHILDREN COULD READ AT THREE, YOU KNOW?

Bruce says YEAH, OF COURSE.

Maureen says BUT NOT MINE.

Bruce says NO MINE EITHER.

Maureen says OKAY. WHAT ABOUT THIS IDEA OF REWARDING THEM, ALMOST BRIBING THEM TO CONTINUE WITH SOMETHING OR TO GET A GOAL IN TODAY'S GAME. YOU KNOW, IF YOU GET A GOAL TODAY, WE'LL TAKE YOU FOR A, YOU KNOW, A DOUGHNUT AFTER THE GRAHAM. WHAT ABOUT THAT WHOLE I'D AGREE?

Bruce says THERE'S A WHOLE REALM OF RESEARCH ON ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION THAT'S FINDING THAT WHAT DRIVES PEOPLE DIVIDES ITSELF ROUGHLY INTO TWO DOMAIN. AND ONE DOMAIN, THE CHILDREN OR PERSONS ARE INTERESTED IN TASKS FOR THEMSELVES. FOR WHAT THEY'RE LEARNING... WHAT THE LEARNING PLEASURE GIVES AND WHAT KNOWLEDGE THEY GAIN OUT OF THIS. WHAT SKILL IS NEW TO THEM. AND THEY JUST ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF DOING IT. THE OTHER BASIS FOR THE MOTIVATION IS TO DO BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE. TO LOOK GOOD.

Maureen says THEY'RE COMPETITIVE THEN.

Bruce says THEY'RE VERY COMPETITIVE. SO WHAT COUNTS IS WINNING, WHAT COUNTS IS BEING NUMBER ONE OR IN THE TOPIC FIVE. AND TOO OFTEN, I THINK, PARENTS GET ANXIOUS ABOUT THAT, AND COMMUNICATE A SENSE TO THEIR OWN CHILDREN. THAT THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET AHEAD SO WHEN THEY COME HOME FROM SCHOOL, THEY DON'T ASK DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU DID AT SCHOOL TODAY, THEY ASK "HOW DID YOU DO?" IN TROLGS EVERYBODY ELSE. HERE'S A TEST SCORE. DID YOU FEEL YOU GOT ACROSS ON THE ANSWERS YOU MEANT TO GET ACROSS? NO, WE SAY HOW DID ALL THE OTHER KIDS DO.

Maureen says FIRST YOU ASK YOUR KIDS' TEST ANDARK WHAT WAS THE CLASS AVERAGE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO THE INSTANT COMPARES SON. THANK YOU MAYA FOR YOUR CALL. LET'S GO TO BERNADETTE IN STOUFVILLE.

The Caller says HI, SINCE DID YOU MENTION TESTING THERE, MY CONCERN IS WITH THE TESTING THAT GOES ON NOW AT SCHOOL LEVEL, WE KNOW AS PARENTS THAT THERE ARE CHILDREN OUT THERE WHO ARE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO BE SUCESSFUL IN THAT KIND OF TESTING, AND I WONDER SOMETIMES HOW FAIR IT IS TO BE PUTTING EVERYBODY THROUGH A SYSTEM THAT IS TELLING US BASICALLY WHAT A GOOD PARENT ALREADY KNOWS IF YOU'RE PAYING ATTENTION, YOU KNOW HOW YOUR CHILD IS DOING. YOU YOU DO NOT NEED A TEST SCORE TELL YOU.

Maureen says SO DOES THE TEACHER ALREADY KNOW, I WOULD IMAGINE. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Bruce says WELL, THE TESTING PROBLEM IS AN INTERESTING ONE, BECAUSE ON THE ONE HAND, WE WANT TO USE TESTS AS WAY OF SEEING IF THE SCHOOLS ARE DOING A GOOD JOB. SO WE CAN USE IT AS A PROGRAMME EVALUATION STRATEGY IN A WAY, AND GIVE FEEDBACK TO SCHOOLS AND SAY LOOK, THE KID'S IN YOUR... THE KIDS IN YOUR CLASSROOMS ARE ALL DOING WELL OR NOT SO WELL AND MAYBE YOU NEED TO WORK HARDER AT ORGANIZING YOUR SCHOOL AND MAKING IT WORK BETTER. THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS THAT EACH CHILD AND EACH PARENT EXPERIENCES THE TEST AS A BIT OF CLINICAL INFORMATION THAT HAS PERSONAL MEANING TO THEM. AND THE IMPLICATION IS THAT IF IT'S A TEST, AND IT'S ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT, THAT YOU HAVE TO DO WELL, AND THAT IF YOU'RE NOT DOING WELL, SOMEHOW YOU FAILED IN LIFE. SO WE INCREASE THE NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES IN WHICH KIDS WHO ARE AVERAGE COME OUT AVERAGE AND IT MAKES THE CHILD FEEL BAD, THE PARENT FEEL BAD, AND SOMEHOW WE'VE PUT IN PLACE A SET OF EXPECTATIONS THAT NOBODY OUGHT TO COME OUT AVERAGE. AND EVERYBODY'S GOT TO BE AHEAD. WHERE WE'RE GOING TO GO WITH ALL THIS, I DON'T KNOW. I'VE TALKED TO SOME PARENTS WHO REALLY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEST SCORES. IT'S IMPORTANT THEM. AND GIVES THEM CONFIDENCE THAT THEIR OWN READING ON THEIR CHILD IS ACCURATE, WHEREAS OTHER PARENTS, LIKE THIS CALLER FEELS PRETTY CONFIDENT AND PROBABLY DOES KNOW AND IS FAIRLY SECURE IN THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND SEES THE TEST AS AN UNNECESSARY PIECE OF INFORMATION AND THEY DON'T NEED IT. MAYBE THE SCHOOL CAN USE IT IN THEIR SCHOOL ASSESSMENT, BUT THEY AS A PARENT DON'T NEED IT. I THINK WE'VE GOT A KIND OF A MIXTURE OF MOTIVES IN PUTTING THESE TESTS FORWARD. AND THEY COULD EASILY CAUSE SOME PROBLEMS THAT WE PROBABLY DON'T INTEND THEM TO CAUSE.

Maureen says WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA THAT IN THE FUTURE THERE MIGHT BE TESTING AT EVERY GRADE AND THAT THE TEST WOULD COUNT TOWARDS WHETHER OR NOT A CHILD IS MOVED FORWARD A YEAR OR HEALED BACK A YEAR? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

Bruce says WELL TESTING USED TO BE MUCH MORE COMMON IN THE SCHOOLS THAN IT IS NOW. I CERTAINLY REMEMBER WHEN I WAS IN JUNIOR HIGHSCHOOL AND IN HIGHSCHOOL, THERE WERE PROVINCIAL EXAMINATIONS, AND THAT WAS A DETERMINING PIECE. BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN IT WAS MUCH EASIER TO HOLD KIDS BACK. THEY DID IT ON THE BASIS OF TESTS AND THERE WERE FREQUENT TESTS IN THE SCHOOL, THE TEACHER DETERMINED THE CONTENTS AND SON. THEY WEREN'T STANDARDIZED OR HIGHLY GENERAL ACROSS THE SYSTEM. BUT THAT HAPPENED AT A TIME WHEN THE CULTURE ACCEPTED THAT AND THEY UNDERSTOOD IT. AND IT WASN'T SUCH A DISASTER IF A CHILD WAS HELD BACK. BUT TO TRY TO RE-INTRODUCE THAT IDEA IN TODAY'S CULTURE IS REALLY TOUGH.

Maureen says HAVEN'T YOU HAD PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH PARENTS CALLING YOU TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE MARK THAT YOU GAVE THEIR CHILDREN.

Bruce says OH, YES. YES, EVEN AT THE UNIVERSITY.

Maureen says TELL ME ABOUT THAT.

Bruce says PARENTS GET VERY, VERY ANXIOUS ABOUT THEIR ADULT CHILDREN AND THEY... MANY PARENTS FIND IT HARD TO LET GO. AND SO YOU GIVE A GRADE ON AN EXAMINATION AND NO, I'LL CHANGE THE WORDING ON THAT. THE STUDENT EARNED A GRADE ON THE EXAMINATION AND THE PARENT CALLS THE PROFESSOR. NOW IT DOESN'T HAPPEN VERY OFTEN. IN MY CAREER ONLY A VERY FEW TIMES. AND THE PARENTS WILL HAVE GOT THE SENSE FROM THE STUDENT THAT IT WAS AN UNFAIR TEST AND THAT THEY WERE NOT BEING PROPERLY TREATED BY THE PROFESSOR AND SO ON. AND I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S BECAUSE THE CHILD USED THAT AS A MANIPULATION IN SOME EXCHANGE WITH THE PARENT BUT IN ANY CASE THE PARENTS GET VERY NERVOUS ABOUT THIS. AND YOU MIGHT EXPECT THAT THE PARENT OF A 21-YEAR-OLD WOULD HAVE SAID "THAT'S YOUR PROBLEMS, YOU DEAL WITH IT." SOME PARENTS AREN'T DOING THAT. AND THEY STAY IN A VERY PROTECTIVE MODE, EVEN WITH THEIR ADULT CHILDREN. IT'S VERY INTERESTING.

Maureen says ALL RIGHT. IS MAYA NEXT? I DON'T KNOW IF... MINH, sorry. HI MINH.

The Caller says OH, HI.

Maureen says HI, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The Caller says I GOT A QUESTION FOR THE PROFESSOR.

Maureen says OKAY.

The Caller says I GOT... WHY I SAY THIS LIKE THIS, BECAUSE THE... THEY CAN READ AND WRITE TWO LANGUAGE, RIGHT? AND I THINK I AM CONCERN BECAUSE SOMETIMES HE REALLY ENJOY GO TO MATH. I DON'T TELL HIM. HE CAN READ, AND THEY TREAT HIM... JUST RIGHT NOW...

Maureen says OKAY, SO AS I UNDERSTAND IT THE CHILD'S IN JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN BUT DOING MATH AT A GRADE FIVE LEVEL. DO YOU KEEP... DO YOU KEEP CHALLENGING THAT CHILD? DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THE PEER GROUP THAT THEY HAVE TO FIT IN WITH KIDS WHO ARE FOUR BUT NOT AS SMART AS THEM? WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE THERE.

Bruce says WELL I MEAN THIS IS VERY TOUGH. IF YOU TAKE THE CHILD AND THE FAMILY IN ISOLATION, AND IF THE FAMILY, THE PARENTS SEE THAT THE CHILD CAN DO THE WORK AND IS INTERESTED IN DOING IT, THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM WORKING WITH THEM TO BE ABLE TO DO IT. THAT INTRODUCES A NEW COMPLEXITY FOR THE CHILD IN THAT THEY HAVE TO GO INTO ANOTHER SOCIAL CONTEXT WHERE THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE LIKE THE OTHER KIDS. AND SOME CHILDREN HAVE A HARD TIME WITH THAT. OTHERS DON'T. OTHERS ARE... WHO KNOWS HOW THIS COMES ABOUT, BUT THEY HAVE A PERSONALITY AND A SET OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOURS THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BE TREMENDOUSLY ACADEMICALLY SUCCESSFUL AND AT THE SAME TIME EASY WITH THEIR CLASSMATES. AND... BUT IF THE CHILD CAN DO ALL THESE THINGS, IS GENUINELY SMART ENOUGH BUT STILL FEELS SOMEHOW ANXIOUS ABOUT THEMSELVES AND PERHAPS A BIT UNCERTAIN, THE CHANCES ARE THAT THEY MIGHT, THAT CHILD MIGHT LORD IT OVER THE OTHER CHILDREN, REMIND THE OTHER CHILDREN THAT THEY'RE NOT AS SMART AS THEY ARE AND NOT AS GOOD AS THEY ARE. SO YOU CAN'T SAY IN A BLANKET WAY IT'S BAD OR IT'S GOOD. IT REALLY ALL DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUALS AND HOW THEY MANAGE THEMSELVES.

Maureen says AGAIN YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF YOUR CHILD. JUST AS A WAY OF CONCLUDING, THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT SAY, PARENTS SAY HAVE GONE OVERBOARD IN BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM IN CHILDREN. WE'RE SO CONCERNED ABOUT SELF-ESTEEM THAT WE'VE STOPPED LOOKING AT ACHIEVEMENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Bruce says I'VE GOT ANISH SMU WITH THIS WHOLE BIDS. I THINK WE'VE GONE DOWN A WRONG PATH IN MUCH OF OUR EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE BUT IT ISN'T JUST TEACHERS, SCHOOLS, IT'S PARENTS AND THE WHOLE SOCIETY. AND SOMEHOW WE'VE GOT IT IN OUR HEAD THAT IT'S SELF-ESTEEM THAT MAKES US SUCCESSFUL AT THINGS. WE'VE ACTUALLY DONE SOME RESEARCH ON THE SELF-ESTEEM, AND WE FOUND THAT YES, WE FIND WHEN WE ANALYZE THE DATA THAT THIS SELF-ESTEEM VARIABLE IS CORRELATED WITH ACHIEVEMENT AND GOOD ADJUSTMENT AT SCHOOL, SOCIAL SUCCESS AND ALL OF THOSE TYPES OF THINGS. BUT WE FIND ALSO WHEN YOU ANALYZE SELF-ESTEEM ALONG WITH SOME OTHER VARIABLES, SUCH AS ABILITY AND ACADEMIC SKILL THE AMOUNT OF EFFORT AND MOTIVATION INTO GOES TOWARDS EDUCATIONAL TASKS THAT IT'S THOSE THINGS THAT TURN OUT TO BE REALLY CRITICAL IN DETERMINING THE ACHIEVEMENT OR BEING ASSOCIATED WITH achievement AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELF-ESTEEM AND THOSE OUTCOMES GOES AWAY. WE DON'T SEE IT ANYMORE. SO IT'S AS IF THE REALLY KEY THINGS ARE BEING ABLE FOLLOW DO THE WORK AND HAVING THE KIND OF MOTIVATION THAT ENGAGES YOU IN THE WORK. IF YOU DO THOSE THING, SUCCESS WILL COME AND YOU WILL FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT. PEOPLE WHO HAVE TRIED TO INCREASE SELF-ESTEEM WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THOSE OTHER THINGS...

Maureen says TO THE MOTIVATION?

Bruce says THERE ARE PROGRAMME, SELF-ESTEEM PROGRAMMES WHERE THEY TAKE KIDS AND HAVE THEM REHEARSE SENTENCES LIKE "I'M A GOOD PERSON. I'M SUCCESSFUL." IF THOSE THINGS IN THE CHILD'S MIND ARE NOT TRUE...

Maureen says THEN IT DOESN'T WORK.

Bruce says IT DOESN'T WORK.

Maureen says WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. IT WAS INTERESTING. BRUCE RYAN IS AN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY RELATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. THERE ARE SEVERAL GOOD BOOKS WRITTEN ON THIS TOPIC.

Three books appear on screen. The first, titled "Kids are worth it!" by Barbara Coloroso, features a picture of a gray-haired woman in her forties on the cover. The second, titled "No I know why tigers eat their young", by Doctor Peter Marshall, has a blue, orange and dark brown cover. The third is titled "Grounded for life?" and features a drawing of a boy, a girl and a tiny cat.

Maureen says PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD READ BARBARA COLOROSO'S BESTSELLER "KIDS ARE WORTH IT." AND IF YOU HAVE TEENAGERS TRY "NOW I KNOW WHY TIGERS EAT THEIR YOUNG" OR "GROUND FOR LIFE."

Now Maureen reads from a sheet of paper and says
OH HE SITS HIGH IN OTHER PEOPLE'S HEARTS AND THAT THAT WOULD APPEAR OFFENCE IN US, HIS COUNTENANCE, GOD'S RICHEST ALCHEMY..." THAT'S FROM JULIUS CAESAR BUT IT'S SHAKESPEARE THAT'S ALL THE BUZZ OF LATE. FIRST A LOOK AT ONE OF THE BARD'S BETTER KNOWN SOLILOQUYS, THIS IS JOHN RAWLSTON AS HAMLET.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Courtesy: TVO series 'Shakespeare 2.'"
In the clip, actor John Rawlston plays Hamlet. He stands in a dimly lit space, with several lit candles in the background.

He says TO BE, OR NOT TO BE. THAT IS THE QUESTION. WHETHER IT IS NOBLER IN THE MIND TO SUFFER THE SLINGS AND ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, OR TO TAKE ARMS AGAINST A SEA OF TROUBLES AND BY OPPOSING END THEM, TO DIE. TO SLEEP. NO MORE. AND BY SLEEP TO SAY WE END THE HEARTACHE AND THE THOUSAND NATURAL SHOCKS THAT FLESH IS AIR TO, TIS A CONSTABLEMATION DEVOTELY TO BE WISHED.

As he holds a knife to his throat, he says TO DIE. TO SLEEP. TO SLEEP. PER CHANCE, TO DREAM. AYE. THERE'S THE RUB. FOR IN THAT SLEEP OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS MAY COME AND WE HAVE SHUFFLED OFF THIS MORTAL COIL MUST GIVE US PAUSE.

He moves the knife away from his throat and continues
THERE'S THE RESPECT THAT MAKES CALAMITY OF SO LONG LIFE. FOR WHO WOULD BEAR THE WHIPS AND SCORNS OF TIME? THE OPPRESSORS WRONG. THE PROUD MAN'S CONTOMB. Y, THE PANGS OF DESPISED LOVE, THE LAWS DELAY, THE INS LENS OF OFFERS AND THE SPURNS THE PATIENT MERIT WHEN THE UNWORTHY TAKES WHEN HE HIMSELF MIGHT HIS COITIS MAKE WITH THE BARE BODKIN...

He dramatically points the knife at his heart and says
WHO WOULD FARTLES BEAR TO GRUNT AND SWEAT UNDER A WEARY LIFE, BUT THAT THE DREAD OF SOMETHING AFTER DEATH. THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY FROM WHO'S BORN NO TRAVELER RETURNS. IT PUZZLES THE WILL AND MAKES US RATHER BEAR THOSE ILLS WE HAVE THAN FLY TO OTHERS THAT WE KNOW NOT OF.

As he slowly lowers the knife, he says THUS CONSCIENCE DOES MAKE COWARDS OF US ALL.

The clip ends.

Maureen says HE BE OR NOT HE BE. THAT REALLY IS THE QUESTION THIS WEEK AS A PORTRAIT OF A MAN, PURPORTED TO BE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, EMERGES IN ONTARIO, OF ALL PLACES. THOUGH IT'S OWNER REMAINS A MYSTERY, SCHOLARS AROUND THE WORLD ARE ITCHING TO KNOW IF THE SUBJECT OF THIS PORTRAIT IS IN FACT THE FAMOUS BARD OF AVON.

A picture of a Globe and Mail newspaper cover appears briefly. The headline reads "Is this the face of genius?" It includes a picture of a painting of a young man with curly hair.

Maureen continues IF IT IS, IT WOULD BE THE ONLY EXISTING PORTRAIT OF SHAKESPEARE PAINTED WHILE HE WAS ALIVE. THIS THE REAL WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE? PROFESSOR ALEXANDER AT LEGGET IS HERE TO HELP US WITH THAT QUESTION. WITH THE DEPARTMENT ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND A SHAKESPEAREAN EXPERT.

Alexander is in his mid-sixties, clean-shaven, with short, receding gray hair. He's wearing a creme suit, white shirt and patterned brown tie.

Maureen continues IF YOU HAVE AN OPINION ON THE PORTRAIT OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT SHAKESPEARE, GIVE US A CALL.

A caption reads "416-484-2727. 1-888-411-1234."
Then, it changes to "moretolife@tvo.org"

Maureen says PLEASURE TO MEET YOU, HI. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU LOOKED AT THE "GLOBE and MAIL" ON SATURDAY AND LEARNED ABOUT THE PORTRAIT?

The caption changes to "Professor Alexander Leggatt. University of Toronto."

Alexander says WHEN I FIRST SAW THE PORTRAIT, I THOUGHT, "WHAT?! THAT'S A SHAKESPEARE WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE," BEHIND THAT CLOSE ON THE HEELS OF THAT QUESTION CAME THE OTHER QUESTION, CAN THAT BE SHAKESPEARE? AND THAT QUESTION WAS BEING ASKED I THINK ALL OVER THE WORLD AND A GREAT VARIETY OF ANSWERS ARE BEING GIVEN TO IT BUT THE FIRST REACTION IS THAT THAT'S A TOTALLY FRESH IMAGE, SOMETHING QUITE UNLIKE THE IMAGES.

Maureen says LET'S BE CLEAR, THOSE OTHER IMAGES, NONE OF THEM CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN DONE BY HIS ACTUAL LIKENESS. HE DIDN'T SIT FOR ANY IN THOSE?

Alexander says NOT THAT WE KNOW. THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE IS THE PIECE AS ON THE FIRST FOLIO, THAT'S THE ONE YOU IS HE ON ALL THE T-SHIRTS, THE VARIATIONS OF AND THAT CLAIMS TO BE TAKEN FROM HIS LIKENESS BUT OF COURSE IT WAS PRINTED AFTER HIS DEATH SO WE DON'T HAVE ANYTHING WE NO IS FROM HIS LIFE.

Maureen says FOR HOSE THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE WHOLE GLOBE STORY, CAN YOU GIVE US A SYNOPSIS OF HOW THIS PORTRAIT HAS EMERGED AND WHERE IT CAME FROM?

Alexander says THIS PORTRAIT HAS BEEN NO ONE FAMILY FOR MANY GENERATIONS. AND IT WAS AUTHENTICATED OR THEY TRIED TO AUTHENTICATE IT IN 1909 AND WERE TOLD OH, FORGET ABOUT IT IT IT'S ALL WRONG SO IT WENT BACK UNDER THE BED OR THE DINING ROOM WALL. BUT THE MAN WHO OWNS IT TOOK IT AS A RETIREMENT PROJECT TO SEE IF HE COULD GET IT AUTHENTICATED PROPERLY. AND IT'S BEEN THROUGH THE SORT OF LAB TESTS THAT THEY USE TO SPOT A FAKE. TO SAY THINGS LIKE "THE PAINT'S TOO LATE, THE MATERIAL'S TOO LATE, WHATEVER THIS IS, IT CAN'T BE WHAT IT CLAIMS TO BE." AND WITH ONE I THINK IMPORTANT EXCEPTION, IT SEEMS TO HAVE PASSED ALL THE TESTS. THE WOOD ON WHICH IT'S PAINTED IS THE RIGHT AGE. THE PAINT IS THE RIGHT AGE, THE LABEL IS THE RIGHT AGE. WHAT APPARENTLY THEY CAN'T TEST, BECAUSE IT'S FADED, SO IT HAS TO BE RED BY INFRARED, IS THE INSCRIPTION ON THE LABEL.

Maureen says WHAT DOES IT SAY?

The caption changes to "Today's topic: The works of William Shakespeare."
Then, it changes again to "moretolife@tvo.org."

Alexander says THE INSCRIPTION SAYS, AND HERE I'M PARAPHRASING IS "WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, THIS LIKENESS TAKEN WHEN HE WAS 39 IN 1603." THERE'S A PROBLEM EVEN WITH THE PHRASE THIS LIKENESS TAKEN, BECAUSE ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES HAS ARGUED THAT THAT EXPRESSION CAN'T BE FOUND IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE BEFORE THE 18th CENTURY. ON THE OTHER HAND THE WORDS LIKENESS AND TAKE BOTH HAVE THEIR RELEVANT MEANS IN SHAKESPEARE'S TIME. THE SOURCE FOR SKEPTICISM IS THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY AND THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY'S INFORMATION ON WHAT IS THE FIRST USE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN NEVER ABSOLUTELY TAKE FOR GRANTED AND THIS IS TYPICAL OF THE WHOLE SITUATION. SOMETHING'S COME UP WITH AN INTERESTING OBJECTION, ONE YOU HAVE TO TAKE SERIOUSLY AND YET IT'S NOT A KNOCK-DOWN BLOW.

Maureen says AND THE ONE THING I'M HEARING TODAY THAT PEOPLE ARE QUESTIONING IS THE PAINTER HIMSELF WAS APPARENTLY A MAN, AND THE FAMILY SAYS THEY'RE DESCENDED FROM THIS MAN AND HE WAS ONE OF THE TROOP OF ACTORS WITH SHAKESPEARE AT THE TIME, BUT NOW PEOPLE ARE SAYING NO, THERE'S NO RECORD THAT HE WAS. WHAT DO WE KNOW?

Alexander says WHAT WE KNOW IS VIRTUALLY NOTHING.

Maureen says OH.

Alexander says HE'S A VERY SHADOWY FIGURE. THERE'S FAMILY TRADITION THAT HE WAS AN ACTOR IN SHAKESPEARE'S COMPANY AND THAT HE WAS A PAINTER. THE FIRST STORIES INDICATED A SCENE PAINTER, AND OF COURSE SHAKESPEARE'S THEATRE DIDN'T HAVE SCENERY IN THE USUAL SENSE BUT THEY DID USE VISUAL EFFECTS OF VARIOUS KINDS SO THERWOULD BE WORK IN SHAKESPEARE'S THEATRE FOR SOMEBODY WHO PAINTED. IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE. THERE IS A REFERENCE TO HIM AS AN ACTOR IN A 19th CENTURY WORK, BUT THEN HE DISAPPEARS IN THE MORE THROW SCHOLARLY WORK OF THE 20th CENTURY, AND THE QUESTION TO WHICH I DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER IS WHAT WAS THE SOURCE OF THE REFERENCE TO HIM IN THE 19th CENTURY AND WHY HAS HE DISAPPEARED? SO WE REALLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HIM OTHER THAN THE FAMILY TRADITION.

Maureen says NOW, I KNOW THAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THIS PORTRAIT NOW IN ENGLAND. WOULD THEY BE THE AUTHORITIES OVER THERE, THE SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLARS OR THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW PORTRAITS OR IS THAT WHAT WE'RE WAITING FOR? IS FOR THEM TO GET A LOOK AT IT?

Alexander says I'M NOT EXACTLY SURE WHAT WE ARE WAITING FOR. I KEEP HEARING THAT THE PROCESS OF AUTHENTICATION IS "ALMOST COMPLETE" INDICATING THERE'S ONE MORE THING TO DO. AND I'D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT THAT IS IS I WOULD SAY THAT YOU DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO GO TO ENGLAND, THAT THE EXPERTISE YOU NEED OF PEOPLE WHO STUDY ELIZABETHAN PORTRAITS, FOR EXAMPLE, COULD JUST AS WELL BE IN THE UNITED STATES. IT COULD BE IN ENGLAND IT COULD BE IN MANY PLACES IN THE WORLD.

Maureen says DO YOU THINK THE ENGLISH... WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ENGLISH THINK OF ALL OF THIS? WHAT WOULD BE THEIR MOST LIKELY REACTION?

Alexander says I THINK THERE'S BOUND TO BE A CERTAIN KEPT SIMPLE, BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN A CERTAIN SKEPTICISM ON THE PART OF THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY GENERALLY, A FEELING OF THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEREFORE IT ISN'T. IF THE FINAL STAGES PRODUCE SERIOUS REASONS TO BELIEVE THAT THIS IS THE MAN HIMSELF, THEN THERE'S GOING TO BE A FEELING A BIT LIKE THE FEELING THE GREEKS HAVE ABOUT THE ELGIN MARBLES. THIS IS OURS AND WE WANT IT BACK. WE'RE NOT AT THAT STAGE YET.

Maureen says AND I'VE READ THE CANADIAN MUSE SIMS... MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES ARE SAYING BE NICE TO HAVE IT BUT WE PROBABLY CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY IT SO THERE IS A CHANCE IT WILL LEAVE CANADA ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

Alexander says THERE IS A VERY GOOD CHANCE. IF THIS PROVES TO BE AT LEAST PLAUSIBLE ENOUGH THAT IT'S TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS THE REAL WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, THEN IT'S GOING TO BE HARD TO RAISE THE MONEY TO KEEP IT HERE.

Maureen says WOW. ALL RIGHT. PROFESSOR ALEXANDER LEGGET IS A SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLAR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. HE HAS LOTS OF THOUGHTS ON HOLLYWOOD VERSIONS OF SHAKESPEARE. WE'RE GOING TO ASK HIM FOR SOME OF HIS FAVOURITE PLAYS AND SOLILOQUYS AND ACTORS, BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE THE MAN, THE PLAYS, THE PORTRAIT, GIVE US A CALL.

The phone numbers and email reappear briefly.

Maureen continues JUST LEAVING THE PORTRAIT ASIDE FOR A MOMENT, TELL ME WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SHAKESPEAREAN PLAY?

Alexander says THE STANDARD ANSWER IS IT'S THE ONE I'M WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT.

Maureen says WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

Alexander says AT THE MOMENT I'M WORKING ON TIME OF ATHENS WHICH I FIND IS AN ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING PLAY BUT NOT MANY PEOPLE WHO GIVE THAT ANSWER. IF I HAVE TO GIVE THAT ANSWER, IN OTHER WORDS LEAVING THAT ASIDE WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE, I WOULD SAY ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA.

Maureen says WHY IS THAT?

Alexander says ONE OF THE SUGGESTS IN ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA IS THERE IS ROMANCE IN MIDDLE AGE AND I FIND THAT VERY ATTRACTIVE. IT'S ALSO, I THINK MOZART'S GREATEST OPERA, IT'S DONE WITH A WONDERFUL LIGHTNESS OF TOUCH EVEN THOUGH THE ISSUES IN IT ARE KOSS ANDIK IT'S AN INCREDIBLY DARING PLAY, THE WAY HE USES COMEDY AT THE MOST SERIOUS MOMENTS. HAS A QUALITY OF SHEER HOOTZPAH WHICH I THINK IS CHARACTERISTIC OF SHAKESPEARE AND HIGHLY DEVELOPED IN ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA.

Maureen says HAVE THEY DONE ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA AT START FORD OF LATE? I CAN'T REMEMBER.

Alexander says NOT OF LATE. IT WAS DONE MAYBE FIVE, SIX YEARS AGO OR DONE MORE. IT'S NOT DOESN'T IN FACT VERY OFTEN BECAUSE IT'S VERY DIFFICULT. YOU NEED TWO LEADING ACTORS WHO CAN LIVE UP TO THE THE GLAMOUR OF THE LEADING PARTS AND THAT'S HARD.

Maureen says WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT HAMLET BECAUSE WE SAW THE SOLILOQUY THERE. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HAMLET? EITHER YOU'VE SEEN HIM ON SCREEN OR ON STAGE?

Alexander says I HAVE A NUMBER OF FAVOURITE HAMLETS. ON SCREEN I LIKED BOTH KENNETH BRANNA AND MEL GIBSON, ON STAGE I LIKED PAUL GROSS AT STRATFORD LAST YEAR VERY MUCH.

Maureen says I'M GLAD YOU SAY YOU LIKED MEL GIBSON. I THOUGHT HE DID A GOOD VERSION IN HIS JOB AS HAMLET.

Alexander says I THINK SO, BUT PEOPLE FORGET, AS THEY FORGOT ABOUT PAUL GROT WHEN THEY'RE CASTING HIM, IS THERE'S A GOOD DEAL OF SHAKES SHAKESPEAREAN EXPERIENCE BEHIND THAT STAR CAREER. THESE PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING AND GOING MUCH FURTHER BACK THERE WAS AN ACTOR NAMED DAVID WARREND IN THE EARLY '60s WHO PLAYED HIM AS A KIND OF '60s RAD SCOMPAL THAT PERFORMANCE STICKS IN MY IMAGINATION. I'M ALSO FOND OF THE FILM VERSION WITH ETHAN HAWKEE OF HAMLET.

Maureen says HE'S GOOD.

Alexander says HE'S VERY GOOD. HE'S VERY SULK 'YA. HE WEARS ONE OF THOSE TEA COAST SEE CHANCE ON HIS HEAD, RUNNING GAGS LIKE WHENEVER YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH HIM HE TENDS TO BE NOT THERE. THE WHOLE THING IS SET IN NEW YORK IN 2000. AND YOU THINK OH, COME ON, REVIEW SKETCH. YOU GET PAST THAT IN A MINUTE AND A HALF AND THE REST OF IT IS A VERY INTELLIGENT, IMAGINATIVE ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ACTUAL PLAY.

Maureen says I'LL HAVE TO GET THAT ON VIDEO. ALL RIGHT KAREN IS IN TORONTO. HI KAREN, WELCOME.

The Caller says THANKS FOR TAKING MY CALL.

Maureen says OKAY.

The Caller says I HAD READ A FEW YEARS AGO THAT THERE WAS SOME SPECULATION AROUND SHAKESPEARE ACTUALLY BEING A WOMAN... OH, I'M SORRY MY PHONE'S DYING, I'LL SAY THIS FAST. I WAS WONDERING IF THIS PORTRAIT WAS ACTUALLY A GENUINE ONE, IF THAT WOULD PUT TO BED ALL OF THAT QUESTIONING AROUND HIS GENDER.

Maureen says IS THERE MUCH SCHOLARLY QUESTION ABOUT HIS GENDER?

Alexander says NOT ANY VERY SERIOUSLY SCHOLARLY QUESTIONING. I THINK WHERE IT MAY HAVE COME FROM IS THAT OF THE WRITERS OF THAT PERIOD HE IS UNUSUALLY GOOD AT CREATING INTERESTING AND SYMPATHETIC AND PARTICULARLY INTELLIGENT AND FEISTY FEMALE CHARACTERS. A LOT OF THE WOMEN IN PLAYS WRITTEN BY HIS CONTEMPORARIES TEND TO BE STANDARDIZED STEREOTYPES OF WOMEN. AND SHAKESPEARE CREATES FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO BREAK OUT BEYOND THAT. I THINK THERE WERE OCCASIONAL SUGGESTING... SUGGESTIONS IN THE 19th CENTURY THAT HE WAS SO GOOD AT THIS HE MUST HAVE BEEN A WOMAN BUT I DON'T THINK MANY PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN THAT SERIOUSLY AND WITH VIRTUALLY ALL THE PORTRAITS WE HAVE, INCLUDING THIS ONE, THERE'S TOO MUCH FACIAL HAIR.

Maureen says MM-HM MM. AND NOT ENOUGH ON THE TOPIC OF THE HEAD IN SOME OF THEM.

Alexander says THAT'S RIGHT.

Maureen says BUT THOSE ARE... THAT'S THE SAME LINE OF REASONING THAT LEADS SOME PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT EITHER ONE MAN DIDN'T WRITE ALL THESE PLAYS OR THAT THIS, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, WASN'T THE ACTUAL AUTHOR. GO INTO THAT FOR US. WHAT'S THAT ALL ABOUT?

Alexander says WHAT THAT IS ALL ABOUT IS GOING BACK NOW TWO OR THREE CENTURIES, A BELIEF THAT SOMEBODY FROM AN OBSCURE COUNTRY TOWN, AS IT THEN WAS, SOMEBODY WHO DIDN'T HAVE A UNIVERSITY DEGREE, SOMEBODY WHO DIDN'T HAVE CONNECTIONS WITH THE ARISTOCRACY COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE A GENIUS. THIS SUGGESTIONS A RATHER NARROW VIEW OF WHAT A GENIUS IS AND HOW IT CAN BE CREATED. FOR MANY YEARS THE FAVOURITE CANDIDATE WAS FRANCIS BACON BECAUSE HE WAS AN INTELLECTUAL AND SCIENTIST CAN GREAT THINKER. ANYBODY WHO'S READ A WORD OF BACON AND A WORD OF SHAKESPEARE FINDS IT ONE OF THE GREAT MYSTERIES THAT ANYBODY COULD IMAGINE THAT THE SAME PERSON COULD HAVE WRITTEN THOSE TWO BODIES OF WORK. CURRENT CANDIDATE IS THE EARL OF OXFORD. ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS THAT THERE IS AN INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE COURT AND OF THE ARISTOCRACY IN SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS, ONLY POSSIBLE TO SOMEBODY LIKE THE EARL OF OXFORD, AND QUITE FRANKLY THERE ISN'T SHAKESPEARE'S DEPICTIONS OF THE COURT AND ARISTOCRACY ARE MOSTLY THEATRICAL SHORT HAND. MY BASIC FEELING ABOUT THIS IS THAT IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE MAN WHO WROTE THE PLAYS, ONE OF THE PRIMARY THINGS YOU WANT IS SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND THEATRE, WHO HAS THE CRAFT AND THE INSTINCT FOR PUTTING TOGETHER A VIABLE PLAY. BECAUSE THE REMARKABLE THING ABOUT HIS PLAYS IS THAT UNLIKE THE PLAYS OF MANY OF HIS SUCCESSFUL CONTEMPORARY, THERE'S STILL WORKABLE THAT'S RIGHT. THEY'RE PERFORMED ALL OVER THE WORLD IN THEATRES TOTALLY UNLIKE THE ONES THAT HE WROTE FOR HIM SO OBVIOUSLY THIS IS SOMEBODY WHO KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT THEATRE AND I WOULD SAY KNEW IT FROM INSIDE. AND SHAKESPEARE WAS AN ACTOR. MOST OF EVEN HIS CONTEMPORARY PLAYWRIGHTS WERE NOT ACTORS BUT HE KNEW THE BUSINESS FROM INSIDE. YOU ALSO WANT SOMEBODY WITH AN INSIDE KNOWLEDGE, NOT OF THE COURT BUT OF A FEW OF THE MORE OBSCURE VILLAGES AROUND STRATFORD, AND THE NAMES OF SOME LOCAL CHARACTERS AROUND STRATFORD BECAUSE YOU YOU GET THAT IN THE OPENING SCENES OF THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. I DON'T THINK FRANCIS BACON OR THE EARL OF OXFORD QUALIFIES.

Maureen says DID I READ THE EARL OF OXFORD IS ACTUALLY A SMALL CHARACTER IN ONE OF THE PLAYS, THE LATER PLAYS? AND IN FACT THE INFORMATION IN THE PLAY ABOUT HIM IS ERRONEOUS AND SOMEONE POINTS OUGHT IF HE WROTE THEM HIMSELF, HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHERE HE WAS AT SUCH AND SUCH A TIME. I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HENRY THE 8th. BUT THAT'S, THAT'S A GOOD ARGUMENT, WHY IT WAS THE SAME MAN. DO YOU ACCEPT THOUGH THAT MAYBE ONE OR TWO WERE CO-WRITTEN WITH SOMEONE ELSE?

Alexander says IT'S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT SHAKESPEARE WORKED WITH CO-WRITERS. IN FACT IN THE CASE OF TWO PLAYS FROM LATE IN HIS CAREER, TWO NOBLE KINGSMEN WHICH IS AN ADAPTATION OF THE KNIGHT'S TALE BY CHOSSARD, NOT TO BE CONFUSED BY THE MOVIE THAT'S CURRENTLY ON WE KNOW FROM THE TITLE PAGE THAT'S COLLABORATION OF SHAKESPEARE AND JOHN FLETCHER AND YOU KNOW FROM READING THE PLAY THAT YOU'VE GOT TWO VERY DIFFERENT STYLE AT WORK. HIS LATE HISTORY PLAY HENRY THE 8th HAS ONLY HIS NAME ATTACHED TO IT EXTERNALLY, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOKING AT THE STYLE OF HENRY THE 8th THINK THERE'S A LOT OF FLETCHER IN THERE, AND TIME MEN OF ATHENS, THERE'S NOW A THEORY THAT SEVERAL SCENES FROM WRITTEN NOT BY SHAKESPEARE BUT THOMAS MIDDLETON. THIS WOULD IN FACT BE NORMAL FOR THE PERIOD. A LOT OF PLAYS WERE WRIT CONTINUE BY COMMITTEES OF ONE TYPE OR ANOTHER. THEATRE WAS A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE AND THE WATCH WORD WAS "QUESTION DON'T WANT IT GOOD, WE WANT IT TUESDAY." THINGS HAD TO BE DONE VERY FAST AND IT WAS MUCH EASIER TO GET A COMMITTEE GOING ON SOMETHING.

Maureen says HOW DID YOU LIKE SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE.

Alexander says I LOVED IT.

Maureen says DID YOU? YOU TALK ABOUT THE PRESSURE ON HIM BY THE THEATRE OWNERS AND WE WANTED THE PLAY RIGHT AWAY. INTERESTING. WHAT DO WE HAVE IN SHAKESPEARE'S OWN HANDWRITING. ARE THERE ANY ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS ON HIS LETTERS, ANYTHING THAT HE WROTE?

Alexander says WE HAVE I THINK A SMALL NUMBER OF SIGNIFICANCE ON... SIGNATURES ON LEGAL DOCUMENTS THAT WE CAN BE PRETTY SURE ARE HIS. WHAT WE DON'T HAVE IS THE MAN SCRICHT THE WHOLE PLAY. WE'D LOVE TO HAVE THAT. WE HAVE THE MANUSCRIPT OF A SCENE IN A PLAY, A PLAY ABOUT SIR THOMAS MOORE, WHICH MAY BE SHAKESPEARE'S. AND A BIT LIKE THE PORTRAIT, THIS IS THE SUBJECT OF GREAT CONTROVERSY. BUT IF IT'S TRUE, THEN WE HAVE A LARGE CHUNK OF A PLAY BY SHAKESPEARE IN HIS HAND. IT'S JUST WE'RE NOT TOTALLY CERTAIN.

Maureen says NEVER COMPLETED, SIR THOMAS...

Alexander says THE PLAY WAS COMPLETED BUT IT WAS A COMMITTEE JOB. THERE WERE SEVERAL WRITERS INVOLVED. SHAKESPEARE WAS ONLY ONE OF THEM IF INDEED HE WAS IN IT AT AND YOU WILL IT RAN INTO CENSORSHIP TROUBLE SO AS FAR AS WE KNOW IT WAS NEVER PERFORMED.

Maureen says BECAUSE QUEEN ELIZABETH DIDN'T LIKE IT?

Alexander says BECAUSE IT DEALT WITH STILL FAIRLY HOT POLITICAL ISSUES. THE FIGURE OF SIR THOMAS MOORE S INVOLVED IN ISSUES OF THE ROYAL PER ROGIVE AND CATHOLIC VERSUS PROTESTANT AND EVEN THOUGH THE PLAY TRIES TO CLEAN HIM UP AND MAKE HIM POLITICALLY SAFE IT WAS STILL A BIT TOO HOT.

Maureen says OKAY, LET'S GO TO SALLY IN TORONTO.

The Caller says HI MAUREEN. PROFESSOR LEGATT, I WANTED TO ASK YOU IF YOU'D SEEN ANY THE RECENT MOVIES, YOU KNOW, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO'S VERSION, IF HE'S SEEN ANY OF THE MOVIES AND WHAT HE THINKS?

Alexander says I THINK THE RECENT FILM, THE ONE CLOSEST TO THE PLAY IS KENTH IN BRANNA'S HAMLET WHICH IS INCREDIBLY DARING BECAUSE IT GIVES YOU THE UNCUT HAMLET AND YOU'RE THERE FOR ABOUT FOUR HOURS. IN FACT IT GIVES YOU MORE OF HAMLET PERHAPS THAN SHAKESPEARE EVER INTENDED YOU TO HAVE BECAUSE IT USES THE SO-CALLED CONFLATED TEXT IN WHICH ALL THE AVAILABLE MATERIAL'S PUT TOGETHER IN ONE SCRIPT. THAT'S THE ONE WHICH IN TERMS OF THE SCRIPT IS CLOSEST TO THE TEXT. SOME OF THE OTHER RECENT FILMS ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE PLAYS, THOUGH THEY DEPART PRETTY EXTRAVAGANTLY FROM THE LETTER. I MENTIONED THE ETHAN HAWKEE MOVIE SET IN 2000, THAT DOESN'T SOUND MUCH LIKE SHAKESPEARE, YET IT'S FULL OF THE IMAGES OF SURVEILLANCE, IN THE DIFFERENT WAYS IN NOW WE USE MODERN TECHNOLOGIES TO SPY ON EACH OTHER, IT USES MODERN EQUIVALENTS FOR THAT AND WHAT IT'S LIGHTING UP IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THE PLAY. IN HAMLET PEOPLE ARE SPYING ON EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME. SO THE USE OF SECURITY MICROPHONES AND CONCEALED CAMERAS IS A VERY NICE LINK-UP WITH THE ORIGINAL PLAY. AND I'M RATHER FOND OF THE FILM VERSION OF TITUS ANDRONIC SUMD US SIMPLY CALLED TITUS, BECAUSE THAT SEEMS TO ME TO CAPTURE THE EXTRAVAGANCE, CRAZINESS, TRICKY BALANCE OF HORROR AND COMEDY IN THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT. I THINK THERE'S BEEN SOME VERY GOOD WORK DONE IN THE FILMS LATELY.

Maureen says JUST BY WAY OF WRAPPING UP, IF... AND MAYBE THEY CAN NEVER PROVE THIS PROPERTY TAIT IS OF SHAKESPEARE, BUT WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO SCHOLARS LIKE YOURSELF TO HAVE THAT VISUAL IMAGE? THAT THIS IS WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE?

Alexander says I THINK IT WOULD GIVE US SOMETHING WE'VE NEVER HAD BEFORE. IT WOULD GIVE US A VISUAL IMAGE OF SHAKESPEARE THAT WE CAN ASSOCIATE WITH THE MAN WHO WROTE PLAYS LIKE LOVE'S LABOURS LOST, MID-SUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, THERE'S A KIND OF YOUTH AND MISCHIEF IN THE PORTRAIT WHICH WE DON'T HAVE IN THE MORE DIGNIFIED FIGURES WE'RE USED TO. AND WHILE IN ONE SENSE THAT DOESN'T AFFECT ONE'S READING AT ALL, THE PLAYS ARE THE PLAYS, NO MATTER WHAT THE WRITER LOOKS LIKE, IRRATIONALLY AND SUBLIMINALLY, WHEN YOU'RE READING A WORK AND YOU HAVE A VISUAL IMAGE OF THE PERSON WHO WOT IT, LIKE ROBERTSON DAVIES OR MARGARET ATWOOD OR PHYSICAL YOU'RE LISTENING TO A SIM KNEE BY BEETHOVEN WHO LOOKS LIKE BEETHOVEN YOU'VE GOT AS PART OF YOUR REACTION A VISUAL IMAGE IN YOUR MIND CAN IF WE COULD EVER PROVE THIS WAS THE NEW SHAKESPEARE, WE'VE HAD A NEW LAYER TO THAT PART OF OUR RESPONSE TO SHAKESPEARE.

Maureen says THEY SAY HE LOOKS TOO YOUNG IN THAT PORTRAIT TO HAVE BEEN 39. AT THAT TIME THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN OLD AGE. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Alexander says THAT'S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS. IT'S NOT INSTURM POINT I BELIEVE, BECAUSE WHO KNOWS WHETHER THE PORTRAIT IS IDEALIZED OR SLIGHTLY INACCURATE ABOUT I NOTICED IN A SEEMINGLY LARGER BLOWN UP VERSION OF IT HE DOES HAVE BAGS UNDER HIS EYES. THAT HELPS.

Maureen says YOU MAKE ME WANT TO GO BACK TO UNIVERSITY AND TAKE YOUR COURSE. IT'S GREAT TO HEAR YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR SHAKESPEARE. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. PROFESSOR ALEXANDER LEGATT TEACHES SHAKESPEARE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. IF YOU WANT SOME HELP WITH YOUR SHAKESPEAREAN HOMEWORK YOU MIGHT TRY THIS WEBSITE.

A slate reads "The works of William Shakespeare, www.allshakespeare.com."

Maureen continues WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SHAKESPEARE'S COMEDIES OR HIS TRAGEDIES? WHY CHOOSE? GRADES TWO AND THREE STUDENTS FROM STRATFORD'S HAMLET SCHOOL DECIDED TO CELEBRATE THE BARD BY COMBINING THE TWO, AND STUDIO 2 PAID A VISIT.

A clip plays in which several people walk out of a school bus as a group of children wait outside a school. The children are dressed in medieval costumes including bishops, bards, maids and knights.

(BAGPIPES PLAYING)

(music plays)

As a girl plays a violin, a boy and another girl dance on a stage to the music. Other children clap.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Julian Hacquehard."

Julian, in his preteens, with short dark hair, says IT HAS A LOT OF EMOTION AND THAT'S LOT OF SHAKESPEARES IT.

The caption changes to "Matt Doughty."

Matt, same age, with short brown hair says YEAH, AND IT'S SORT OF A COMEDY AND A TRAGEDY.

A group of children on stage speaks in unison and says HE SHOULD WE CONTINUE AT A RAE QUIET PACE, THEN IN 1597, WE'LL...

A curly-haired teacher in her late forties directs the children.

A female voice says ACTUALLY THERE WAS SURPRISE AT FIRST AND I WOULD HEAR COMMENTS LIKE "YOU'RE TEACHING WHAT?!" SHAKESPEARE'S TAUGHT IN THE HIGHSCHOOL, NOT IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND CERTAINLY NOT IN GRADE TWO.

The teacher appears in daytime.

A caption reads "Lois Burdett. Teacher."

She continues
INITIALLY WHEN I MOVED HERE, I WAS SURPRISED TO FIND THAT ALL THE SCHOOLS HAD SHAKESPEAREAN NAMES, SO I ASKED THE CHILDREN WELL WHY IS OUR SCHOOL CALLED HAMLET AND WHAT IS SHAKESPEARE TO DO WITH STRATFORD, and WHO IS THIS Mr. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE? AND THEY CAME UP WITH WONDERFUL IDEAS. THEY SAID... ONE SAID HE WAS A FAMOUS BOXER. ANOTHER THOUGHT HE WAS THE PRESIDENT OF CANADA. AND MY FAVOURITE OF ALL TIME WAS THE LITTLE BOY WHO SAID I DON'T KNOW WHO WILLIAM SHAINGS SPEAR IS, I DON'T KNOW ANY OF THE BIG KIDS. SO THAT WAS REALLY FUN. AND JUST SORT OF TOOK OFF FROM THERE, AND THE KIDS WERE VERY EXCITED ON MAKING THE CONNECTION WITH THE NAME OF THEIR SCHOOL AND AN HISTORICAL FIGURE, AND IT REALLY MUSHROOMED AND TOOK OVER THE CLASSROOM. IT BECAME ALL-ENCOMPASSING.

A boy on stage dressed as a joker says CALL FORTH GEORGE! GEORGE OF MERRY ENGLAND! TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY FROM...

Other children reply THE DRAGON!

A boy dressed as a dragon roars.

A boy dressed as a knight says I'M HERE TO SAVE THE COUNTRY!

He fights the dragon.

Lois says WHEN I TELL THE KIDS A SIMPLIFIED STORY OF A SHAKESPEAREAN PLAY, THE RESPONSE IS IMMEDIATE. THEY LOVE THE INTRIGUE AND THE COMEDY AND THE SUSPENSE, AND THE ROMANCE OF IT ALL.

Matt says HE WRITES...

Julian says LIKE FUNNY COMEDY.

Matt says AND HE HAS SO MUCH FEELINGS IN HIS PLAY.

Julian says YEAH, AND LIKE WHEN YOU'RE SAYING, LIKE HIS LINES, IT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE BACK IN HIS TIME.

Two children speak after the play.
Captions read "Matt Hunt" and "Morgan Pel."

Matt Hunt says BECAUSE OF HOW HE WRITES HIS PLAYS AND STUFF.

Morgan says AND HE THINKS OF SOME STRANGE NAMES, AND LIKE HARDLY ANYBODY CAN SPELL THEM. AND YOU HAVE TO LOOK THEM UP.

Matt Hunt says KING DUNCAN.

A boy performing on stage says WHAT A BUMMER!

He pretends to fall asleep on a book.

Another boy says YOUNG MASTER SHAKESPEARE, WAKE UP! GET TO WORK!

Lois says THEY ARE A BIG PART OF THE PROCESS OF PUTTING ON THE PLAY. FOR EXAMPLE, SEVEN-YEAR-OLD ANIKA, SHE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE REALLY WONDERFUL DURING OUR WEDDING SCENE IF WE HAD A SONG. AND SHE COMPOSED THE WORDS THE SONG AND PUT THEM TO THE MUSIC OF ODE TO JOY, AND IT'S A REALLY BEAUTIFUL PIECE THAT SHE SINGS WITH ANOTHER FRIEND.

Children performing on stage sing
COME WE JOIN THE MIGHTY CHORUS
WHICH THE MORNINGSTARS BEGAN
THE PURE LOVE IS RAINING O'ER US
JOYFUL JOIN US MAN AND MAN...

Lois says SHAKESPEARE'S NOT AN END IN ITSELF BUT A MEANS TO AN END, AND A TREMENDOUS MEDIUM FOR GROWTH IN ALL AREAS OF THE CURRICULUM. I'VE SEEN A REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE IN THEIR SELF CONFIDENCE. THE ONE LITTLE BOY WHO'S ACTUALLY PLAYING THE BISHOP WAS A VERY SHY LITTLE BOY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, AND HE JUST BELTS OUT HIS LINES NOW.

The boy playing the bishop says DO YOU WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE TAKE THIS WOMAN TO BE YOUR WIFE?!

The boy playing Shakespeare says I DO!

The boy playing the bishop says DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN TO BE YOUR HUSBAND?

The girl playing the bride says I DO!

The boy playing the bishop says YOU MAY NOW KISS THE BRIDE!

The audience laughs.

Now a man speaks.

A caption reads "Richard Monette. Artistic Director, Stratford Festival."

Richard, in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with receding gray hair, says
WHAT YOU LEARN FROM THIS IS THE REMINDER THAT ART IS VERY SIMPLE IN ITS FORM, VERY CHILDLIKE, AND WHY PEOPLE BECOME ACTORS AND DIRECTORS IS BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY HAD WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG, AND THAT IS A REMINDER, WHEN YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS, AND IT'S A BIT ROUGH, YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOUR ROOTS WERE AND WHY YOU, WHY YOU BEGAN.

Matt Doughty says WELL, I USED TO WANT TO BE A POLICEMAN, NOW I WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT. LIKE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE ONCE WAS. AND THEN I WANT TO GO UP TO WRITE PLAYS.

A girl named Laura Bates says AT FIRST I WANTED TO BE A BOOK WRITER. NOW I WANT TO BE A PLAY MIGHTER AND A BOOK WRITER AND AN ACTOR ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

A girl named Anika Johnson says EVEN BEFORE THIS I WANTED TO BE AN ACTOR. THIS MAKES ME... BUT THIS MAKES ME EVEN MORE WANT TO BE ONE.

A female voice says BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT ACTING THAT YOU LIKE SO MUCH?

Anika says WELL, I LOVE PRETENDING I'M SOMEONE ELSE AND, WELL, I THINK IT'S SO FUN TO START DOING... WELL, I CAN'T EXACTLY EXPLAIN IT. IT'S, IT JUST REALLY INTERESTS ME A LOT.

Performing on stage as a mustached man, Anika says MY ONLY SON HAS DIED. I AM LEFT WITH MY WIFE AND TWO DAUGHTERS. BUT WHY?! I ASK YOU WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?! AND WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN TO SOMEONE LIKE ME?!

As he signs books, Richard says ARE YOU YOU IN THIS CLASS?
I'M NOT SURE NZ YOU'RE NOT SURE? WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

A girl says KATE.

Richard spells
K-A-T-E?

The girl says YEAH.

In his interview, he says AT THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SAID WHAT YOU SEE IS WHEN YOU'RE REALLY YOUNG AND UNLESS YOU GET THE PEOPLE AT A VERY EARLY AGE, BEFORE THEY'RE INTERESTED IN OTHER THINGS, THEY WON'T LIKELY COME BACK TO THE THEATRE WHEN THEY'RE OLDER BUT IF YOU GET THEM WHEN THEY'RE VERY YOUNG AND YOU OPEN THEIR IMAGINATIONS, THEY WON'T BE AFRAID AND THEY WILL COME TO THE THEATRE.

The clip ends and Maureen sits in the studio alone.

She says And that's all the time we have for More to Life. Thanks for joining us today and I hope you'll tune in again, Monday through Friday at 1 o'clock.

Watch: Parental Pressure - Shakespeare's Portrait (May 16/2001)