For those that don't know, I work as a Teacher for secondary school students (ages 12-18).
My school likes to offer different 'electives' every year to try to keep student engagement high. I've not taken part in this program simply because nothing has really gained my interest.
Then I started to think on the possibility of designing and teaching a Popular Culture elective subject, aimed at 15-16 year olds. It'd go for approximately 18-20 weeks with about three one hour classes per week.
My idea right now is to split it up into different units and go through them one by one; comics, sci-fi, animation (from various countries), cosplay, Other TV series/Films, Gaming, etc. I'd also be looking to take the class to some sort of Pop Culture expo as a class trip (Melbourne hosts Supanova or something, which sounds like a possibility).
Obviously, the CBR Community has a rather large liking for geeking out; especially for comics but also for a lot of other pop culture areas as well. Hence, I'd like to hear any feedback/advice/thoughts/opinions on what you would like to see included in such a course. Maybe you've just heard of something similar being taught at another school.
I was pondering using All-Star Superman as an introductory text. Sadly, I'd have to choose something pretty non-controversial as the school board is rather conservative - no boobs/sex or swearing, etc. A-S Superman seemed like a good choice. Possibly also Kingdom Come would make an appearance but that does tend to require a lot of background knowledge. I'm hoping to hear some other suggestions.
I know a core group of likely sign-up kids already love Doctor Who so I'd certainly include that; probably concentrating on a comparison between it's first episodes to how it is now. Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Firefly are also very likely to make appearances.
I'd like to do a review of popular animation from the past few decades to show students how animation has changed. Touch on how a lot of animation start off as toys and are just commericals for said toys. Branch off into international animation such as the Asterix movies from France and (of course) a few things from Japan. The Simpsons is an obvious choice to include in this, of course.
This wouldn't be a detailed look, maybe even just one lesson. But I think the students should be informed on it in case we do go to an expo, just so they know what to expect.
Zombie movies, Bladerunner, Aliens ... very much filling in the proverbial cracks here. A light look only but it does deserve some attention.
Video games and RPGs would get a look as well. From the impact of games such as Star Craft on certain cultures (hello, south korea) to (maybe) controversial topics such as D&D.
So yes, it is a big excuse to have a huge geek-out but we'd also be looking quite closely at pop culture's impact and influence on wider society. The phrases and idioms that have entered the wider vocabularly, for instance.