Creating A Pop Culture Classroom That Engages Your Students
Pop culture has a way of sneaking into our lives and is especially prevalent in the media we consume. So it’s no wonder more and more teachers are looking for ways to tap into pop culture… and are using it to engage students in the classroom. They know by integrating it into the curriculum, they’ll be able to create lessons that are relevant AND relatable, two key components of effective instruction.
So, how can you tap into pop culture and create a more engaging class? That's what this blog post is all about.
How To Create A Pop Culture Classroom That Engages Your Students
Introduce pop culture topics to your students in an age-appropriate way
One thing you don't want to do is share pop culture topics that YOU grew up with. That will only further divide your students from you, and make them less likely to connect with you and your lessons. Instead, you want to focus on topics that your students are likely already familiar with. You can do this by keeping up with the latest music, movies, and television shows.
Other than that, you can talk with your students or listen in on their conversations to get a feel for the type of content they enjoy. Then just do some personal research on those things in your spare time.
Once you're more informed about the topics your students are interested in, you can begin to think about how they fit into the curriculum.
Connect pop culture topics to what you're already teaching
You can introduce pop culture topics to your students in a variety of ways. For example:
- Use analogy's from popular movies to explain difficult concepts
- Share advice (that you've adapted) from popular YouTube vloggers
- Have students listen to songs and then discuss what the lyrics could mean in terms of a class lesson
- Get students involved with creating content related to popular culture
And more as well.
You'll want to be on the lookout for ways you can integrate pop culture into your lesson plans. Eventually, you'll find that it becomes easy once you've started doing it more often.
Use current events as teaching tools
Another thing you can do is use current events to teach your students. The great thing about current events is they can be used to keep old material fresh each and every year. All you've got to do is pay attention to the news and other happenings, then brainstorm which current events relate to what you're teaching.
For example, you can connect lessons to holidays such as Christmas or Valentine’s day. Or you can use the Superbowl. Or could even tie your lessons to something local, like a new restaurant opening up. This way, your students will feel like what they're learning is fresh and relevant, which will make them feel more connected to your class.
Be creative with how you present information to your students
Something fun you can do is frame your lectures in creative ways. By using popular culture, you can transform things like vocabulary lists and notes into mnemonic devices, games, analogies, or more. The key here is doing it in a way that's relevant to whatever pop culture or current events are significant at the time.
For instance, you could create a game of sorts out of the lyrics to a popular song. Or you could use a funny meme to introduce and reinforce a lesson. Just keep in mind that you're trying to teach your students, not just entertain them. You also want to make sure you try different ways of presenting information until you find something that works well.
Engage Your Students With These Pop Culture Classroom Strategies
With these methods, you'll be able to keep your students more involved and engaged with the material you're teaching. You'll find that most of them will enjoy the fact that they're learning and may even look forward to your class! So give some of these pop culture classroom strategies a try and you may be surprised at the difference it makes!
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