Volume 7, Issue 2-- Special Issue 2008

Leadership educators are constantly looking for new pedogological tools to enhance their leadership teaching. As principles of andragogy state, students learn and integrate knowledge into their life when connections can be made to something tangible they have experienced (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson (1998). Because of the integration of popular culture and media into students’ lives, using these mediums is an effective way to teach leadership. In the fall of 2007, The Journal of Leadership Education announced a call for submissions for a special issue on the use of popular culture in leadership education. This special issue was intended to foster not only the application and teaching tools for popular culture, but also to further the theoretical framework for this pedagogical approach (using popular culture to teach leadership.)

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The first article in the application brief section addresses a concern of every teacher using popular culture, copyright laws. Blackwell and Jones provide both a historical perspective to these laws as well as the specifics on how they effect us as leadership educators. In clear terms they clear up the confusion between copyright myths and copyright laws by providing specific guidelines for which we should hold to.

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This article highlights the background, pedagogy, and impacts of the use of popular culture and the bridge created between the in- and out-of-class experiences for students. Hickam and Meixner discuss the millennial generation and its impact on education. In addition, several examples of how movies can be used as effective educational tools both in and out class experiences.

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While some students thrive in traditional course experiences others may be lost in the material, looking for something else to assist them with comprehension. This article provides a look at multiple intelligences and how to meet the needs of ours students learning through an alternative method, artwork. Stedman takes a theoretical approach to discussing how artwork can be used to enhance creative behaviors including, critical thinking, self-awareness, and social relations. 

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Students are constantly plugged into their iPods, what are they listening to? And can they learn something from it? In this paper several songs have been selected from various music genres, all demonstrating elements of leadership. Not only does Hall discuss applications for using music to teach leadership, but he provides a new “twist” to these tunes with a table matching specific lyrics to leadership theory.

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Imagination is a leadership skill often overlooked in our teachings. Enlow and Popa discuss how imagination is critical to leadership and provide a teaching module designed to develop of moral imagination in leadership students. It outlines the use of popular film – in this case, the classic Woody Allen (1989) film, Crimes and Misdemeanors – to help students identify ethical events, assess various viewpoints concerning these events, and then practice reframing the events using moral imagination.

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Grey’s Anatomy (2007) is a popular television series that shows the directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating styles of situational leadership. Using media clips from this series, students can relate with the dramatic relationships and daily demands of the student intern characters, and learn more about situational leadership through living in the “leadership moment.”

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As more technology is introduced into the classroom the need to discover creative ways to connect with our students increases. This article outlines the use of a group book review assignment to teach leadership while simultaneously fostering a sense of community among students in an online leadership course. Moore provides an in depth description of her assignment using popular books and its success in not only teaching students but helping them connect with one another.

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Gray and Callahan’s article uses the movie 300 to explore skills-based leadership theories. Gray and Callahan provide a thorough background on Katz’s Three Skills Approach and the Skills Model by Mumford, Zacaro, Harding, Jacobs, and Fleishman; and, then, describes how these theories can be found in the movie. In addition, the article provides suggestions for experiential learning activities based on the movie which serve to help participants link and apply theory to practice.

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© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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