Streaming and digital technology have altered the way people listen to music all around the world. Streaming services, which provide listeners with access to almost the entire archive of international music, have torn down the barrier that had kept music genres isolated from one another. While the music industry has grown significantly, especially in foreign genres, there has been no comparable increase in the use of international pop culture to educate economics.
The goal of this paper is to provide teaching resources for professors who want to broaden their usage of pop culture in the classroom. This research provides three training manuals based on three of the most popular Korean Pop (K-pop) bands in recent years. They offer educators with an edited music video with English subtitles and economic analysis for each artist. Each guide contains a song summary and a key lyric that emphasizes the principles of economics.The lessons are intended to serve as a formative assessment for that specific session and range in duration from 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Literature Review
Using music to teach economics is actually well documented goes back to the early 2000s. Previous work has focused on learning outcomes and the use of music in that classroom and has found that music has the ability to improve student learning for some students (Harter, 2003) so long as the song choice is very specific to the economic content being assessed (McClough and Heinfeldt, 2012).
Mr. Caskey is a standout social sciences teacher at Delaware Academy. He uses music as the tools to teach economics that is called “HipHoponomics” in which using original rap music as the basis for his lesson plans. HipHoponomics appears to be an excellent technique to excite and enlighten younger people, who may have alien and hostile minds to learning free market economic principles. He has even set to hip-hop music a title called “Debatin’ the Wage,” which features yours truly and Bernie Sanders on the minimum wage. Caskey’s goal is to reach the urban student with the relevance of the economic way of thinking.
While the use of English-language pop culture to teach economics is becoming more prevalent in Western societies, academic studies of how K-pop can be used in teaching are uncommon. Kim (2017) had students decode K-Pop lyrics and magazine articles to apply their own interpretation to the songs before sharing their results with others. They detail the importance of teaching with K-pop and how K-pop can be an effective resource for students. Lee (2018) used K-pop music videos to teach students a variety of Chinese idioms, which demonstrates that Korean media can be used outside of Korea. Neither study, however, has a connection with economics education
3. Overview of K-Pop
The availability of digital music on worldwide platforms such as YouTube and Spotify has accelerated the international expansion of K-pop. The South Korean music industry was characterized as a “power player” in a recent worldwide music research released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and South Korea was recently placed sixth in music markets globally. In fact, K-pop has grown into a multibillion-dollar music business.
The term “Korean Wave” (Hallyu in Korean) refers to the rise in global popularity of South Korean culture from the 1990s. Hallyu has been growing for two decades, but K-pop in particular has just recently been more apparent to worldwide audiences. K-Pop groups like BTS and BLACKPINK sell out international concerts within minutes and several K-pop artists have since earned a spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
This research survey used teaching guides below that were implemented in a remote course of principles of microeconomics offered synchronously through the Zoom meeting platform. Students were expected to recall concepts from previous lessons in order to answer the warm-up activity and assessment questions.
For each of the guides below, the assigned instructor asked students to write out their responses to the warm up question. Particular students were called on to share their response and a discussion ensued on the appropriate response. Occasionally, a student might offer a different perspective. The video clip was then played in class, but students were instructed to pay careful attention to both the economic content and the overall meaning of the course. Students were then prompted with the assessment questions, but they were not used as a graded component of the course. With minor adjustments, an instructor could adapt the questions to be answered with classroom response systems. Calhoun and Mateer (2013) summarize the use of classroom response systems coupled with media.
5. Teaching Guides
In this research, they chose three songs for this book based on the artist’s popularity, but also songs that demonstrate a variety of themes. Both BTS and BLACKPINK, who are presently two of the most popular K-pop acts, are featured in the teaching guides. EXO-CBX, a subgroup of the South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO, is a third group. One of the three lesson is:
- Lesson #2: Sunk Costs
- Song: Kill This Love (2014)
- Artist: BLACKPINK
- Length: 3 min 13 s
- Music video URL: https://music4econ.com/home-1/blackpink-kill-this-love
- Summary: When is the right time to end a relationship (to “kill this love”) and move on?
- Concepts: sunk costs, decision making, utility
This paper builds on the work of previous educators who have used popular culture, particularly popular music, to teach economics. The intention is to help economics educators diversify their pop culture resources and mirror trends that are occurring outside of the classroom. Given the increased access students have to international superstars, the global popularity of K-pop will likely continue to grow.
To use Kpop as the tools to study economics regardless of their nationality, they need to include English subtitles since the students have to understand the context of the video. We believe that the use of more diverse teaching material shows students the broad impact of the discipline while also engaging students who may not have felt that they would fit into the discipline.
The lesson guides above were delivered in a pandemic Covid-19 situation in a principle of macroeconomics course. The post-semester survey was sent 3.5 months after to students to measure student perceptions on the effectiveness of using K-pop as a teaching tool.
1 Compared with other teaching methods, I found it easier to pay attention and learn through the use of K-Pop.
2 The use of K-Pop in this course enhanced my learning experience
3 The use of K-Pop in this course has enhanced my interest in studying
Figure 1 Student response rate to questions related to the use of K-Pop as a teaching too (N = 29). Source: Jadrian J. Wooten, W. G. (2021). Diversifying the use of pop culture in the classroom: Using K-pop. International Review of Economics Education, 6.
The results of the survey are presented in Fig. 1. A fair number of students took the time to respond. In total 29 students took the survey and 21 left comments when asked “Was there anything in particular about the use of K-pop in this course which you found helpful to your learning experience?”.
Over half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the use of K-pop in the classroom enhanced their learning experience and interest in the subject. The open-ended responses confirm the Bayer et al. (2020) results that by incorporating more relatable and personal teaching material, students can feel more engaged and interested in economics.
Wooten, J. J., Wooten, Geerling, W., Calma A. (2021). Diversifying the use of pop culture in the classroom: Using K-pop to teach principles of economics. International Review of Economics Education , 38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iree.2021.100220
Opinion | Walter E. Williams: Innovative school using music to teach economics. (2017, June 19). Retrieved from Lane Report: https://www.lanereport.com/78581/2017/06/opinion-walter-williams-innovative-school-using-music-to-teach-economics/