Summing up a critical study of the movie, Twilight, Alison Happel & Jennifer Esposito conclude that popular culture must be seen as education and critically studied as such – totally in line with my thoughts! They write:
“Because we understand education as broadly conceived, we believe that it is important to engage with messages that youth are receiving both inside and outside of the actual school walls.We believe that it is important for educators and parents to understand what is happening in students’ lives, and popular culture is an important educative site for many students of all ages. The walls of the school building are porous, and there is a dialectical relationship between what is learned inside of the classroom, and what lessons are learned outside of the classroom. To reach and connect with students, educators must be critically engaged with various messages and texts that students are consuming (Kellner and Share 2006), and we believe it is crucial for adults to critically engage with potentially problematic texts [like Twilight, which the authors address here] that promote harmful messages and ideologies. Critical engagement with and through popular culture is an important way for educators to better understand and relate to their students.” (pp.529-530)
BTW This is a conception of education that standardised testing must surely struggle to accommodate! There are multiple cyber communities and multiple youth communities in cyberspace and beyond …which, given the prevalence of popular culture and multimedia exposure, makes standardised testing questionable?
Ref: Alison Happel & Jennifer Esposito (2010): Vampires, Vixens, and Feminists: An Analysis of Twilight, Educational Studies, 46:5, 524-531