How to Engage Students in the Classroom Using Pop-Culture?
Guest post by Daniela McVicker
Teaching is a noble yet challenging profession. You never know what to expect in a classroom full of students. In addition, a lot depends on the classroom energy and atmosphere at the moment of teaching. That’s why many professors decide to try out unconventional teaching methods and use unusual teaching aids. Using pop-culture in the classroom is one of those methods.
It might sound strange at first, but pop-culture can be used as a teaching aid. It can help the teachers get the students more actively engaged in the class and participate in it more eagerly. If you’re curious to learn more about this, just keep reading.
Here’s how pop-culture can make a difference in the classroom.
1. Make a Connection
When students are presented with new materials and unknown subject matter, they might find it too hard to understand. It also happens that they don’t have the right motivation to even try and comprehend new concepts, ideas, or terms.
Using pop culture to introduce new subject matter can be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Make a connection between the things your students are familiar with, like pop culture, and things they know nothing about, like new concepts you’re teaching.
This will ensure they’re more interested and more alert during the lesson.
Here’s how you can do it:
- compare old and new song lyrics for linguistic purposes
- talk about different forms of art
- change pop song lyrics to turn them into educational songs
- talk about human rights comparing female artists from the past to today’s pop culture artists
Find a way your students can get actively involved in a discussion and give them a reason to pay attention to every word that you’re saying.
2. Debates and Group Discussions
There are some subjects which require the students to discuss their opinions, compare ideas, and exchange viewpoints.
This is a concept commonly used in classes such as:
There needs to be a vivid exchange of opinions and arguments to help the students learn how to form and express an opinion, think for themselves and use language in an active way.
Pop culture is something they’re familiar with and most likely have strong opinions about.
Use pop culture in some of the following ways:
- to have a class debate
- to assign a presentation to smaller groups of students
- to have students make an investigation and learn about new concepts
For example, you can divide students into smaller groups and assign each group with a random pop culture celebrity. Give them 15 minutes to discuss all the facts they know about this person, write them down, and put on a presentation.
It’s a great practice for language classes.
3. Critical Thinking
It’s important that your students learn how to differentiate meaningful information from nonsense.
With so much going on, on television, social media, blogs and other things they’re interested in, someone needs to help them get a hold of the situation and learn how to know right from wrong.
Together, you can analyze:
- celebrity social media accounts, comments, and messages they send out
- awards acceptance speeches
- popular commercials
There’s a message behind everything and your students and you could use the above sources as interesting materials to break down.
Make sure you create written handouts of the materials you’re covering. Check out these reviews page if you need help with putting those together.
Help them understand what to value, who to trust, and how to think before they act. Make sure they don’t fall under bad influences easily.
Lessons can be revived and refreshed using different kinds of pop culture related visuals.
Visuals include everything from videos, images, to screenshots and infographics.
It’s a great way to shake your students up after a long day of doing homework or listening to other lessons. It’s also great to prepare them for what’s coming next during your lesson.
Here’s a couple of ideas of how you can use pop culture visuals in the classroom:
- use celebrity images when teaching physical appearance terms and descriptions
- watch a music video which is somehow related to the topic of your lesson
- listen to celebrity interviews on topics you might be dealing with
Give your students something to make the class more interesting and to bring them closer to the topic.
Every child has a role model and someone they look up to. The question is whether or not that person’s the right choice and should they be looking up to them.
As a teacher, you could find a way to make them think about their role models in a more meaningful way.
Assign the entire class with a presentation topic about their celebrity role models.
Make sure they tell the class:
- What makes that person great?
- What do they value about them the most?
- What good deeds have they done?
- What are their biggest qualities?
This will make your students wonder whether or not they have role models that are actually great people.
The teacher should talk about their role model as well. One of these best paper writers can help with putting together a great presentation.
If you’re looking for a way to mix things up in the classroom and give our students something to look forward to, pop culture is a great choice. You can use celebrities, songs, movies, videos, and other pop culture elements to create a great classroom atmosphere and get your students more active.
Use the ideas and advice from above to engage your students and give better lessons.