In my research as well as in my teaching in the area of Film Studies I have always combined a ‘traditional’ approach based on film historiography and film theory with a broader perspective influenced by cultural studies. Among the many reasons that guided this choice, one specifically is directly related to the topic of this group: while cinema can certainly be studied as a specific sector of the arts and the media industries, it can also be seen as only one of the many components of popular culture, which, today, means that cinema is just one aspect of the global & digital popular culture.
Popular culture constitutes perhaps the most relevant cultural background with which most people live in the contemporary era. Whether “good” or “bad”, “interesting” or “boring”, “politically committed” or “escapist”, the point is simply that popular culture is a subject most individuals (first of all: our students) are familiar and engage with in their everyday life. Approaching film culture from the perspective of popular cinema is thus a good way to look at its historical and social aspects, and it is certainly a good way stimulate a critical approach in our students towards cinema as an aesthetic, economic, cultural and political phenomenon.
For these reasons, while not having been a language teacher, I would be tempted to think that studies in popular cinema, and popular culture in general, might be useful for the teachers of foreign language and cultures. Looking for studies on this subject I found a few articles on this subject that are freely available on the Web:
P., ‘Using Popular Culture in Language Teaching.’ The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, Ed. Carol A. Chapelle, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell 2013: https://www.academia.edu/9680788/Using_Pop_Culture_in_Language_Teaching_-_2012
Cheung, Chi-Kim. “The Use of Popular Culture as a Stimulus to Motivate Secondary Students’ English Learning in Hong Kong,” ELT Journal, 55:1, January 2001: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.474.6932&rep=rep1&type=pdf
N. Fukunaga, “‘Those Anime Students:’ Foreing Language Literacy Through Japanese Popular Culture,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 50:30, Nov. 2006: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1598/JAAL.50.3.5/epdf
To launch the discussion between Film and Media scholars and language teachers, I would thus like to ask you to consider the following questions:
Do you use popular culture in your language classroom?
How do you use these materials in relation to the ‘proper’ language teaching?
What digital/online sources do you use?
Do you know of any digital/online language tools specifically focused on popular culture?
(How) Do you use these sources and tools for assessment?