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Top 8 Tips How to Use Pop Culture in Lessons

Guest blog by Elizabeth Skinner

I often hear teachers complaining that today’s students seek entertainment instead of education.

That’s a complete misconception.

It seems that we’re forgetting the most important rule for successful teaching: engagement.

Education is not about giving lectures and expecting students to study. It’s about inspiring students to learn as much as possible. How do we do that? The trick is to make the material relevant to their interest.

Pop culture is a great spice to add into the lectures, so the students will see how all those definitions and classifications apply into the modern world. It can make the students really interested in the things the teacher says during the lecture.

How to Infuse Pop Culture in Lessons


1. Introduce Video Games in the Classroom

Who doesn’t love video games?

Despite what teachers assume, games have great educational value. When a game has context and simulates real-world problems and solutions, it will inspire students to get into “logical thinking” mode. Games provide immediate feedback that the students don’t take it as seriously as they take games. That’s why gamification is so cool.

Look into different educational video games and consider introducing them in the classroom. If every student has access to a device, it’s an easy thing to do.


2. Collaborate with a Professional Writer

Do you know what else is part of a student’s culture? Buying papers online. You may oppose this practice, but there’s no way to make students stop.

There is something you can do: use it to your advantage. You can pay EduBirdie to do your assignment, and then discuss it with the students. The writer can explain the process of research, planning, writing, and editing. They will share their experience, so the students will understand that academic assignments are not that hard.


3. Choose Assignment Topics from Pop Culture

When you’re asking your students to write an essay, allow them to choose any topic they like. If someone wants to write a history essay on the evolution of the Barbie doll, let them do it. It may turn out to be a magnificent project when the student is passionate about the topic.

Your students will see the beauty of academic writing when you allow them to discuss their favorite topics.


4. Play YouTube Videos

YouTube is an integral part of pop culture. Students at all levels are inspired by YouTube celebrities. Those figures are influential, so their followers tend to imitate them.

You can benefit from this influence. YouTube is full of silly stuff, but there are amazing educational videos as well. You can even use silly videos to teach science. That’s exactly what Richard Hammond did with his show Science of Stupid. And it worked!


5. Encourage Students to Create Their Own Video Content

Let’s remind ourselves again: students love YouTube, Instagram stories, and all kinds of video content. You can inspire them to learn if you tell them to create a video on a topic you’re teaching.

If you’re teaching a lesson about rock formation, ask your students to explore nature in teams and film a video explaining what they see.


6. Use Popular Trends to Teach Lessons

Have you seen how Clay Morgan told a story about the post-war period through a Zombieland scenario?

Some teachers would say he was making history sound dumb. That’s not true. He used a pop-culture concept to speak the language of his students and get them interested in history. It’s not such a revolutionary concept. Every teacher should rely on it.


7. Use Popular People and Events as a Conversation Starter

Let’s say you’re talking about healthy food. To a young student, it’s a boring concept. But if you start talking about celebrity diets and discussing their pros and cons to the human body, you’ll definitely get their interest.

No matter what you’re teaching, you can always find a relatable example in pop culture.


8.  Repurpose Popular Songs to Teach Lessons

You can repurpose popular songs to teach anything you like. If Weird Al could do it, why can’t you? Imagine fitting a history lesson in a song by Taylor Swift. Of course; you’ll make it appropriate. The students will easily learn the song. They already know the melody, and switching the words will be fun.

But be careful; you mustn’t violate copyright. This will be a class project. It’s best not to publish the song online.

Make Your Teaching Fun

An educator’s profession can be really fun if they are ready to spice up their methods.

Pop culture is the perfect addition to a lesson. It makes the concept relevant and relatable. It gets the students’ interest and inspires them to get creative.

It’s always important for teachers to meet students halfway. Pop culture is an endless inspiration for both you and your students.

The suggested tips are just a start. When you start mentioning popular trends and using them as the driving force of your teaching, you’ll discover a whole new level of creativity.


BIO: Elizabeth Skinner has always loved education. Her goal is to analyze different methods of teaching and recommend the ones that work well. She blogs about education, psychology, and educational technology.


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