What the Beatles, Andy Warhol, and Robert Frost Have in Common: Cultural Relevance in the Adolescent Classroom Workshop Presentation
Author(s): Kimberley Chandler (The College of William and Mary, USA), Jennifer Robins (The College of Wiliam and Mary)
Incorporating songs, artwork, and literature from popular culture in lessons can help gifted adolescent students feel more connected to the curriculum in content area classes and can inspire greater self-efficacy and success. In this session, the presenters will discuss the way in which the literature, art, and music of various contemporary decades can add a depth of understanding about the people’s experience and show how and why the social changes of each time period occurred. The session will include the introduction of graphic organizers and instructional strategies that promote higher order thinking and interdisciplinary learning with this content.
If school culture better matches students’ home culture, the achievement of highly able students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds would improve (Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 1992). Ladson-Billings (1992) used the term “cultural relevance” to describe the teaching practices of successful teachers of ethnically diverse students, which included the use of specific texts that integrated the students’ culture. It is also important to connect students’ out-of-school literacies to the formal school curriculum (Harste, 2003; Rakow, 2011; Skerrett & Bomer, 2011). Because adolescents regularly participate in new literacy practices (engaging with digital, visual, cyber, and media texts), they become more engaged in school experiences that value and affirm their literacy practices, such as their frequent interactions with popular culture. “Popular culture can both supplement academic texts and help connect students to traditional curricula, thereby serving as a powerful component of culturally relevant literacy instruction” (Grater & Johnson, 2013, p. 33).