Preservice teacher beliefs on the use of popular culture in the secondary ELA classroom

James J Herman, Purdue University


Popular culture, by definition, is an ever-expanding construct that cannot be ignored when it comes to the secondary English language arts classroom. As a researcher, I attempted to discover the beliefs of preservice ELA teachers on the use of popular culture in their future classrooms. To do this, I used content analysis to identify key factors in preservice teacher beliefs, and I surveyed twelve preservice teachers on their initial beliefs and experiences with popular culture. Afterwards, three of the preservice teachers surveyed volunteered to take part in an in-depth interview that expanded upon their personal beliefs of popular culture, their past experiences with popular culture as students, and their future plans for utilizing popular culture in their own classrooms. Upon close analysis of the data, it was found that the preservice teachers believed that popular culture holds an important place in the classroom when it comes to engagement and critical thinking. However, the preservice teachers acknowledge that there will be pushback from various directions when it comes to bringing these ‘non-traditional’ texts into the classroom. Therefore, it is clear that despite known possible setbacks, these preservice teachers believe that the benefits outweigh the deficits when it comes to bringing popular culture into the secondary English language arts classroom.




Shoffner, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Language arts|Education|Teacher education

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