Mai Yer Xiong
September 13, 2009
Response to Ch. 1-3
The advancement of technology has greatly affected how popular culture is portrayed today. At the same time, it has given children different ways of getting exposed to it. Popular culture, as we see it today or neglect to see it is an influence on children and how they become exposed to the reality, they live in. In my opinion, some schools prefer their students to live in a fantasy world, where everything is perfect and we all live in harmony following the status quo.
That is a lie, and something students will never understand unless they are exposed to it.
We have forgotten how the mind of children works, and only teach the children as if on a drill. As Cameron White and Trenia Walker (2008) stated, schools has turned into prisons, only teaching students to be "appropriately acting citizens" (p 3). School no longer holds the interest of the students, and this only means that we are doing something wrong. Even as adults, we seek pleasure from the popular culture. Children, on the other hand, not only seek but also are a targeted audience for popular culture. It is important that we stay updated with our students. This only means that we must try to teach our students what they are required to know while keeping their interests.
What may seem interesting for me while in primary school may be, and most likely is, different from students in the primary schools today. Then, technology was not as advanced as what it is today. Now, we have cable and internet where children have more choices to pick. Of course, this just makes it even harder to keep their attention in the schools. What we need to understand is that, these children spend only a fraction of their time in school. Whatever they do out of school we cannot control.
This controversy of bringing popular culture into the classroom is understandable. Popular culture is good and does portray different aspects and point of views. However, censoring is also good. As teachers, we must know what to use and what not to use. Just bringing something in for pleasure only may not be the best way of doing it. Bringing something in for pleasure and knowledge is the best way.
I think that popular culture is the best way to portray America's society as it is, and whom it involves. This topic of multiculturalism is very important for all students to understand and be sensitive about. I think it is good for teachers to try to integrate the differences, but it may not be the most useful. Because everybody has bias whether they know or not. I think that it is best to have that bias portrayed in the music or films being shown, than by a teacher.
My few experiences as a student listening to my culture being exposed to my classmates were not very fun. I remember coming out of it very disappointed and embarrassed. I felt my teacher was not up-to-date with the information. Actually, she was not very correct. I felt a lot of bias coming from her. It was more as if she was making fun of my culture as compared to hers (which the majority of my classmates shared her ethnicity). I believe this did not successfully help my fellow classmates to understand me at all.
I do not remember my teachers bringing in popular culture into my classrooms. Once in sixth grade, my teacher secretly showed my class the movie Hook, which I remember our principle denied her request. It was fun movie day, but I did not learn much from it. I believe we were not learning anything that associated with the movie. My point is if we allow ourselves to integrate popular culture into our classrooms, there is assurance that our students will learn better. They will be able to see the world from multiple perspectives.