The use of popular and digital culture to facilitate literacy learning

University essay from Malmö högskola/Lärande och samhälle

Abstract: This research synthesis investigates the effects that popular culture and new forms of mediation have had on the teaching and learning of English. Further, it examines some key aspects worth consideration when applying these types of texts in an educational context. The English syllabus for upper secondary school advises teachers to make use of the outside world for resources, and teach the students how to access, gather, analyze and use information found in different types of texts. After initial struggles, due to teachers’ reluctance, popular culture and modern media has found its way in to most classrooms and studies have shown different effects that the introduction of these texts have had on teaching and learning of English. Firstly, there has been a shift in how many teachers approach texts by letting students take more responsibility by participating in the selection process of different texts. Moreover, some studies have shown the effects popular culture and digital media have had on the acquisition of literacy skills. Study results suggest that primarily, students critical skills have developed, and that “out of school literacies” have helped students develop more traditional literacy skills such as reading and writing. However, this research synthesis concludes by saying that more research measuring the acquisition of traditional English using popular culture and digital media skills over longer periods of time involving more students would allow one to answer more accurately what effects they have had.

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