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Teaching the "unteachable:" Toward a curriculum based on the traditional and popular canons

1 February 1992


Popular culture plays a key role in all of our lives and yet it is usually neglected in the classroom and in curriculum development. This paper focuses on the importance of popular culture to the life of the individual and of the classroom and attempts to address the problem of curricula that usually do not rely at all upon the popular canon that is so vital to the lives of students. Central to this paper is a case-study in which the author worked as a participant observer, teaching a unit of study based upon Hamlet, a play from the traditional canon, Franco Zefferelli's film of Hamlet, and The Dead Zone, a work of genre-fiction. The effectiveness of this approach was measured by the performance of one class and students' subjective responses to the unit of study.


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