A Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programming: An Introduction

Now, you know this is an education blog, and know this is an education blog, but apparently my friend Ernest doesn’t, since he asked me to be involved with it. Sure, I have a job in the education industry (Is this phrase useful or cynical? Discuss.) and I’ve been educated before and I have an interest in education issues. But, well, shoot- I don’t write about education.

No, my corner is pop culture and entertainment: movies and music mostly, occasionally books, maybe something here or there about religion or sports if it suits my whims. Truth be told, my corner isn’t particularly well-defined. But it’s decidedly not education.

So Ernest pitched the idea of this blog to me, and I thought it was a great idea. Something I’d really enjoying reading. I figured I’d learn a lot from it and be able to support my friends at the same time. And then Ernest said, “I really just want it to be a place where we can write about our passions.”

I’ve been pondering that ever since as I’ve tried to figure out what my role could be on Thirty-Eight Minutes. It’s easy for me to view my passion for our popular art forms solely through the lens of entertainment, amusement, and distraction. But I determined a few years ago that my love for film and music is rooted far more in what I learn from them.

In education it’s easy to forget that our students are a lot like us in some key ways. For one, it’s easier for them to learn when they’re having fun. Also, they don’t process the world through a series of equations or historical facts or scientific theories that they have to memorize. They process the world through their personal culture. What they’re trying to study is going to click a lot better if it’s applicable to them.

Pop culture is a step ahead of the public school system in this regard. It’s usually way more fun, but more importantly, the narratives in movies and meaningful lyrics in music invite us to wrap our own narratives with them and, in so doing, to learn more fully whatever they have to impart.

If all this sounds a little to heavy for an aspect of culture that’s given us “She Looks So Perfect” and A Haunted House 2 in the past couple of months, bear with me. We want to use the culture around us to help our students learn, but first we have to become well-versed at engaging with what culture is teaching us.

So that’s what what we’ll do. Every other week, I’ll be coming at you with a post about something in pop culture, and we’re going to figure out what it’s trying to teach us and then, sometimes, what our nation is actually learning from it. My friends here at Thirty-Eight Minutes are far more knowledgeable about the intricacies of education and politics than I. Consider this a break from our regularly scheduled programming.