Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Dr. Nancy Legge

Analysis of Popular Culture

We spend a lot of our time listening to music, watching television programs and movies, and interacting on social media. This learning module helps students recognize and understand the persuasive power and influence of popular culture. We begin with a popular song, television program, or commercial and discuss student perceptions. Then, we review a brief template of questions to use to critically evaluate popular culture examples. Students are divided into groups to apply this template to the example and learn to evaluate the messages communicated. We reconvene to share the insights each group has found. This process helps us understand how influential "leisure activities" can be in our thinking, and provides students with some tools for understanding how that influence works. 

Persuasive Attacks

Persuasive attacks are common in our culture, including our increasingly polarized politics, intense disagreements over social and economic policies, and attacks that are voiced on social media. For example, Hillary Clinton offered a systematic attack on Donald Trump's use of the "alt-right" in his campaign; Keith Olbermann provided a strong persuasive attack on the NFL; Alexander Hamilton offered strong attacks against Thomas Jefferson; many have leveled attacks on Colin Kaepernick. This learning module introduces the theory of persuasive attack that is common in political and public discourse. We use an example (political or otherwise public, contemporary, or historical) of persuasive attack and teach students to move out of the realm of personal, gut-level reaction and to a more detached approach to evaluate the public discourse.

Image Repair

Whether you're a public figure, an employee, or a student, we all make mistakes. Consider a couple of examples: Philippine President Duterte insulting President Obama, Hillary Clinton's email crisis, Samsung's phone crisis, etc. How do we repair our image and our relationships after we make a mistake? Should we apologize? Make excuses? Both? This learning module introduces a concept of "image repair" and the various tactics used to try to repair a damaged image. Through the use of examples of public figures and everyday interpersonal situations, students understand and evaluate strategies that may be more effective in some situations than in others.

State Standards

These presentations meet the following state education standards for high school students:

Media Arts

Anchor Standard 8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

MA:Re8.1.III Analyze the intent, meanings and impacts of diverse media artworks, considering complex factors of context and bias.


Anchor Standard 9: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

MA:Re9.1.HS.III Independently develop rigorous evaluations of, and strategically seek feedback for media artworks and production processes, considering complex goals and factors.


English Language Arts/Literacy

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.



Comprehension and Collaboration   

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.



Text Types and Purposes

W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.



Information and Communication Technology


Standard 3: Knowledge Constructor

ICT.9-12.3.b Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.