- The School Library Journal recently hosted a webinar about pop culture and student engagement, offering strategies for linking learning material to music, celebrity and the media as a way to get students talking, collaborating and thinking critically.
- According to eSchool News, teachers can incorporate celebrity comments on current events into lessons, ask students to read films as texts and analyze literary techniques, or ask students to critically compare various magazine covers.
- James Miles, director of education for Fresh Ed, a professional development program of the Urban Arts Partnership, sees the integration of popular culture into classrooms as an example of culturally-responsive pedagogy.
Beyond engaging students, bringing popular culture into the classroom can give students an opportunity for critical analysis. Students should not be taking celebrity comments, blog posts, music lyrics or even news stories at face value. They should learn how to fact-check information and develop a sense of when to be suspicious. Lessons that incorporate pop culture can be especially important in the context of media literacy.
A recent study by Stanford University researchers found students of all ages have a hard time assessing the quality and validity of online content — to troubling effect. Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA, is among those that have adopted a new digital curriculum called the “checkology virtual classroom,” created by The News Literacy Project, to address that shortcoming and prepare students to be responsible citizens.