2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Is Taylor Swift the New Abigail Williams? A Case Study on Popular Culture and Student Engagement

Kristina M. Kohl♦
Dr. Summer Pennell, Dr. Barbara Price, and Dr. Paul L. Yoder, Faculty Mentors

The use of popular culture in the secondary English classroom presents a unique opportunity to involve students in new subject matter through a medium they already know and love. In this case study, juniors in a suburban high school worked within a project-based learning unit to read and analyze works from their assigned American literature time period as well as pieces of popular culture. Students asked themselves where and how they are still seeing themes from their time period’s canon in their lives today. Types of data collected include student artifacts such as research notebooks, literary analysis essays, peer-led lessons, and researcher reflections over how student perceptions of American literature changed throughout the unit. The study concluded that the intentional implementation of popular culture within the secondary English classroom can increase both student engagement with and understanding of the material.

Keywords: secondary education, English education, popular culture, student engagement, American literature, canon

English, Secondary MAE Research

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 202-3
Location: MG 1090
Time: 10:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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