Elementary Teachers' Perceptions of Popular Culture Texts
Butler, Melinda S.
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Popular culture texts are widely desired by many elementary students, and yet some teachers do not value the use of popular culture texts in the classroom (Lambirth, 2003; Marsh 2006). The purpose of this research was to explore two, Title I elementary teachers’ perceptions of the use of popular culture texts during independent reading. Data collection consisted of initial and post interviews, classroom teacher observations over a nine-week time period, and photographs of the teachers’ classroom libraries taken during classroom visits. . Data were triangulated with multiple analytic techniques including In Vivo and Process coding (Saldaña, 2013), thematic analysis, Keywords-in-context analysis, and visual analysis. Themes that emerged during analysis were choice of texts during independent reading, standardized test pressure, accountability and expectations, classification of students, and differentiation of instruction. Findings revealed that although teachers may permit popular culture texts to be read during independent reading, that the choice is conditional and fraught with stipulations imposed by the teacher versus truly allowing free choice. Additionally, national, state, district, and campus academic expectations may factor into teachers’ perceptions of the value of the use of popular culture texts. Implications from the research include recommendations for increased popular culture professional development and teacher advocacy for choice, balanced literacy, and daily independent reading. Future research might investigate teacher and student perceptions of popular culture texts through a mixed methods study.