Reading Pop Culture And Young Adult Literature Analysis

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“Reading Pop Culture and Young Adult Literature Through the Youth Lens” from the January 2015 edition of The English Journal discusses a professor’s implementation of a curriculum for teacher candidates that encourages future teachers to identify and consider the portrayal of societal constructions of adolescence in various texts. Through biological, psychology and pop-culture perspectives, teacher-candidates learn to question the dominant narratives of adolescence and see future students on an individual level. The article also periodically offers suggestions about implementing a similar curriculum in a secondary classroom.
By applying a youth lens to pop-culture texts, the teacher-candidates begin to see some of the harmful ways that adolescents are portrayed in the most prevalent texts in our culture. Teacher-candidates were also made aware of the societal construction of adolescence by watching Mean Girls and tracing Cady’s changes, which are proof that there is not a single, monolithic experience of adolescence. If there were, Cady would not have needed to change to fit the American, upper-middle class ideal of adolescence—she would have already embodied it. Teacher-candidates continued to examine various kinds of texts, noting that texts often offer particularly
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Using a youth lens helped bring out complexities in texts that would otherwise have been unnoticed, such as differing cultural, racial, socioeconomic, gendered, etc. definitions of adolescence. This further disrupted the single narrative of adolescence, further individualizing students. Response to literature using a youth lens also led to discussions of authorial intent and the power that adult authors have to project their own conceptualizations of youth on to characters in the books that young adults are reading, therefore furthering generalizable, non-individual ideas about

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