As I reflect upon the changes that have occurred during my teaching tenure since 2000 and the theme of remixing I think of the parallels of how culture can and does recycle itself in two general patterns. One is based on chronology and the other is along racial and ethnic lines. As an international teacher I am fully exposed to both of these avenues and having the opportunity to live and work as both unfold around me is a unique experience in itself.
I am constantly looking at similarities of music, art, television, movies and other aspects of culture as they unfold around me. What I marvel at is what determines what sticks and what changes. For example in Korea, the K-pop phenomena is well established, teenagers are obsessed with the manufactured stars of this era. Where did this begin? As an off-shoot of American Boy-Band pop? The Beatles (the first boy-band, although their artistic growth and maturation is one of the great wonders of artistic achievement in history) or an amalgam of a 80’s pop? What is it? Not that it matters, but as I get older, whenever any student doesn’t know Led Zeppelin, Guns n Roses or U2 I am floored. I guess I get older more quickly as the years pass.
As a social studies teacher I am constantly dealing with Remix culture. How is Mesopotamia represented in our own culture? What similarities, what differences? How can I connect the two? Is it work trying or should I focus on what Mesopotamia created and sustained in their zenith?
What I have found works well is creating scenarios in which students have to take something from the past and apply it to today and as the theme goes, remix it. What they often realize is that these civilizations count. What could improve life today as much as the wheel did back in the day? What technologies could benefit us today? Simplistic on the surface, yet the essence of the human spirit. The artistic experience is probably the best example of the remix culture teaching point. Lots of potential to tap there.
As this world changes, patterns do emerge and they are the crux of the human experience. The goal is for students to realize these patterns and apply them and understand that cultures do exist and they are intertwined.
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