Teaching Guides

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media

Teaching Guide. Edited by Elizabeth Marshall and Özlem Sensoy. Rethinking Schools. 2011. 330 pages.
Collection of essays that offer strong critiques and practical teaching strategies about what is “popular” and the messages being communicated by mass media.

Themes: Media

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media - 2nd Edition (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryRethinking Popular Culture and Media is a provocative collection of articles that begins with the idea that the “popular” in classrooms and in the everyday lives of teachers and students is fundamentally political.

This anthology includes outstanding articles by elementary and secondary public school teachers, scholars, and activists who examine how and what popular toys, books, films, music, and other media “teach.” These thoughtful essays offer strong conceptual critiques and practical pedagogical strategies for educators at every level to engage with the popular.

Rethinking Popular Culture and Media features over 45 articles, divided into 6 sections:

  1. Study the Relationship Between Corporations and Schooling
  2. Critique How Popular Culture and Media Frame the Parameters of Historical Events and Actors
  3. Examine the Connections Between Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality and Social Histories in Popular Culture and Media
  4. View and Analyze Representations of Teachers, Students and Schools
  5. Take Action for a Just Society
  6. Use Popular Culture and Media to Transgress.

Writers include Wayne Au, Bill Bigelow, Linda Christensen, Barbara Ehrenreich, Ellen Goodman, Herb Kohl, Gregory Michie, Bob Peterson, and Renée Watson.

ISBN: 9780942961485  | Rethinking Schools


“Rethinking Popular Culture and Media is essential reading for all educators. Its gripping essays are written by teachers courageously helping students of all ages grapple with our media-saturated, commercially driven society. Their passion and experiences provide fodder, hope, and roadmaps for anyone committed to using the classroom to help children think critically and live creatively.” —Susan Linn, Harvard Medical School, Co-founder and Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, author of Consuming Kids: the Hostile Takeover of Childhood (New Press).

“This superb collection is based on the editors’ belief that popular culture is a place where young people’s identities are both expressed and shaped by forces beyond their control. The starting point of any defense and reaction to this environment is critical reflection. The essays collected here will provide teachers and educators with an invaluable resource to think creatively about their own pedagogical activities in the classroom. Should be required reading for anyone dealing with issues of young people, media and popular culture.” —Sut Jhally, Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Founder and Executive Director, Media Education Foundation

“Finally a text that tackles issues in pop culture and media by encouraging teachers to help students navigate the system and demonstrates what could happen if we built up critically literate masses. Finally, a group of teachers are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a fight against selling our children’s minds to the highest bidder. Finally.” —Reagan Kaufman, College of Education, University of Wyoming. Multicultural Perspectives, August 2012