In my opinion, there are many reasons to teach popular music in schools. Ideally, I want my students' interests in history to be stimulated. I want them to get excited to dig back in time and discover interesting trends in our nation's pop culture. I want them to be able to analyze these pop culture trends and compare them to economic, cultural, and political situations from the era.
In this course, I want to learn ways to get my students excited about learning about popular music and underlying trends from the time period. If I get excited about it, the enthusiasm will transfer to my students. I also want to gain a deeper understanding between the connections of popular music and economic, cultural, and political trends for two reasons. The first being that I find these connections very interesting personally. The second reason is if I have a deeper understanding of this material, I will be more prepared to teach it.
In regards to the situation given concerning a revised curriculum related to the language arts and social sciences programs, I would voice my concerns and state my case to keep the pop culture/music class to the principal via a letter to the principal. The letter would look like the following:
It has come to my attention that the school district has decided to revise its entire overall language arts/social sciences curriculum as a result of pressure to go "back to the basics" of education. I understand the reasoning behind this push is to improve test scores in both reading and writing. My class, "The History of Popular Music," reinforces and builds these skills. Please consider the following points before you revise any curriculum.
My class, "The History of Popular Music," does not take away from students learning basic skills, such as reading and writing. In fact, it gives them an exciting and unique opportunity to enhance them. The skills learned in my class are complimentary to ones learned in fundamental classes. Students in my class read a large amount of material throughout the course, more so than in most currents courses offered. In addition to the heavy reading, students hone their writing skills through multiple analytical essays. The class serves as an application opportunity for students to apply the basic skills of reading and writing learned in fundamental classes.
My class teaches students to analyze given information, not just to recite it back. This skill is extremely important as many of our students at this school have collegiate plans. More specifically, my students read about popular music in varying time periods and are then asked to analyze historic cultural, economic, and political trends in that time period. This exercise teaches students about the history of our nation and cultural fads throughout its history. As history tends to repeat itself, I am giving students the tools they needs to analyze current trends and predict outcomes.
Please share this letter with the school board at your next meeting on Monday May 31, 2010.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
May 27, 2010