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Rethinking Popular Culture and Media

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media should be required reading for educators in today’s society. Students are exposed to an increasing amount of popular culture and media and much of that is from corporations that promote ideas like consumption, competition, hierarchy, sexism, homophobia, and racism. It can be overwhelming to approach how to teach students that are so heavily influenced by things out of our control. However, this book provides helpful information, analysis, and insight into the best ways to help youth and adults reflect on what they see in pop culture. Teachers are required to make themselves aware and familiar with the many types of pop culture and media that their students read, view, and consume. Because this book was mostly written by teachers for teachers, it is very useful in offering real examples that examine pop culture and media in relation to education. We think this book has provided us with knowledge about the classroom that will be especially important as we enter the world of teaching.


Questions for Teacher Panel

In connecting our book to modern day teachers, we want to know how popular culture and media are incorporated into the daily schedule of k-12 education.

How do teachers today incorporate social media into their classroom environments, if they do at all?

Any projects with courses that incorporate current events?

Leniency with technology in classrooms? Are students able to use their technology as resources?

Is there a polling system like poll everywhere that is appropriate for k-12 education?

Group #6: TV Bullies & Kid Nation

Group #6

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media


Summary and Discussion:


In this week, our group members read two articles in the book of Rethinking Popular Culture and Media, which named TV Bullies and Kid Nation.

TV Bullies talks about a popular musical television drama Glee, which focuses on the bullying as a bitter reality for most kids in the fictional school, located in small-town Ohio. The two protagonists, Kurt and Finn had been the target of homophobic violence. The focus on bullying in Glee is related to the dissemination by researchers, educational administrators, psychologists, and media journalists. This kind of dissemination draws public attention to the fact that bullying is harmful, but also makes bullying become useful and profitable for corporations to make money. Corporate media benefits by casting the spotlight on bullying in schools, especially if it involves homicide, suicide, and/or lawsuits. It also talks about how school should be responsible to stop the bullying.

Kid Nation talks about a CBS’ 2008 TV reality show that featured 40 kids from 8 to 15 years old and filmed on the location at the Bonanza town in New Mexico State. In the show, children tried to create a functioning society in the town, including setting up a government system with minimal adult help and supervision. However, during the show, some people argue that kids were never act as autonomous or self-reliant. The Kid Nation production raised questions about whether reality show participants are more like subjects in a documentary or working actors, so this show might violate child labor laws and even child abuse laws. At last, author stated that this show had failed in letting kids establish their own nation and manipulated by the media culture.



  1. What are some strategies to stop bullying that you have seen to be affective?
  2. Are you safe space certified, why or why not?




The Truth Behind House Bill 318

This was seen all over the news and heard all over the radios. However, it didn’t stop Governor Pat McCrory from singing this bill on October 29, 2015. Also known as “Protect North Carolina Workers Act”, this House Bill 318 has now caused a great number of difficulties to undertake the undocumented families, which will also have a direct effect on the children coming in to be educated.

As discussed in class today, many immigrant children come to school with a lot of anxiety and stress that is a result from the tensions that they have to deal with from living with parents who are illegal immigrants. Many of these children are considered to be unaccompanied, with no parent/guardian taking care of them. It isn’t surprising as to why these children come to schools full of tension and some even becoming defensive when being confronted about the topic. While some children might be considered unaccompanied, many other children have to live in households with parents who cannot provide for them due to the lack of jobs available for them.

The House Bill 318 provides a lot of hostility to immigrants who are struggling to find employment. In addition, the HB 318 restricts any government intervention for working within the immigrant community, even restricting power of the state executive branch. Parents of the children would now have to have state their immigration status when applying to jobs that can make them very vulnerable to becoming deported. If this becomes the case, the children are then placed in a poster system and older children are likely to feel insecure, which can affect their studies greatly.

If this is the case, it is very important to know the story of each individual student in order to be able to make him or her feel safe and engaged during the class period. This might include being flexible and changing the curriculum or being open to staying after school to help the individual students who need someone to talk to. As educators, it’s crucial to teach each individual student and not allow for any student to be left behind for any type of reason.

Confronting the Myths

Immigration seems to be a topic of discussion for many grade levels. In the media immigration can be depicted in several stereotypical ways and cause stereotypes towards certain races. It is important for teachers to address these stereotypes with the class and provide clear facts about immigration before discussing this topic in order to have more meaningful conversation between the students. This why we  chose to analyze the pdf above this week called “The Truth about Ten Immigration Myths” which addresses the ten most known myths about immigration by students. By addressing these myths early in the class you are able to keep children from offending others with things that they have heard rather than facts that are known to be true.

Lego Fascists

The two pieces that we read were related in that they were both talking about the dynamics of legs in the classroom. Students had a Lego town project where they were supposed to build a town but students were creating hierarchies in relation to the lego pieces. Students were being excluded and others were guarding their territory. There were “issues of inequality and power that helped to shape Lego Town.” Eventually the legos were destroyed. A trade system for the legos was then implemented but it did not do much to mitigate the hierarchy. By the end, the teachers were trying to get their students to discuss the implications of power and inequality in regard to their classroom toy. The teachers had a responsibility to pay attention to the values and the interactions that the students portrayed in the case of the legos to emphasize the value of democracy.

In our discussion, we touched on how this particular lesson would be representative of critical pedagogy and the idea that education, whether planned or spontaneous, is inherently political (Hinchey, 2004). The legos could have been implemented into an actual lesson plan, since they were obviously a tool for learning in the after school care.

Questions for Practicing Teachers:

What are some relations of power in extracurricular activities that you oversee and how do you address them? For example sports.

How can you address these power stances that exist in the extracurriculars within the actual classroom?

How can you get your students involved in making rules for your classroom?

Group 5: Moving Forward and Researching the Next Topics

As we touched on in the last post and confirmed after finishing the book and recapping, the book left us wanting quite a bit more. Though we read many positive things about things like Hip Hop pedagogy, being more conscious about the way that history is told and remembered, and activities that can help examine the gender stereotypes that are enforced on our youth, we found ourselves yearning for more that felt relevant to today. Without looking at the year in which the book was published, it feels as if the book stops in maybe 2005-2008, just short of a great deal of stuff that we feel is relevant to our studies today.

With the goal of proposing additions to the book, we each chose topics that we were interested in, and agreed to do our own independent research on said topics. After doing the research, we will each report next week (tomorrow) and share our findings.

Leslie will be focusing on telepresence robots and their impact on classrooms. We’ve seen many instances of these telepresence robots changing the way students learn, particularly students that have disabilities or conditions that prevent them from being in class.

Martha-Scott will be focusing on social media. The book touched on social media a little, but the fact that the social media that was referenced was MySpace shows that the book is a little behind in terms of the revolution of social media. With the large presence that social media has taken on in our lives, we feel that examining the effects of things like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and the culture of smart phone social media.

Josh will be focusing on the advancement of assistive technology in classrooms. This isn’t limited to technologies only for individuals with disabilities as well, but also technologies that have made learning more accessible like SmartBoards and other forms of tech. We all noted that we prefer white boards and chalk boards, and we want to know if these technologies are actually useful beyond seeming to help.

Lastly, Coby will be focusing on the role that video games have played in the lives of students, as well as the role that Wikipedia has had. We are interested to see if the “violence in video games creates violence in real life” argument holds any weight. In addition to this, we also wondered if things like Wikipedia create shortcuts for students that make them less inclined to read full texts.

Stay tuned to see what we come up with tomorrow!