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Lesson Plan: American Values in the Print Media



I Learning Objective(s)

(1) To help students understand how dominant American values are reflected in, and reinforced by the mainstream media

(2) To demonstrate the role of print media in shaping and diffusing social norms in mainstream American culture

(3) To help students problematize hegemonic discourses as transmitted through material culture

II Rationale for Objectives

By critically engaging with elements of popular and mainstream culture, students will come to appreciate better the role of the mass media in the socialization process and to understand the regulative function of the values supporting contemporary capitalist societies. 


III Materials

Magazines (Teacher asks students to bring copies of magazines which feature their favorite celebrity to class).



List of Core American values for each student

IV Procedures


(1)    Introduction

Provide students with a list of core American values.  Use Jennifer Lopez (“J.Lo”) to illustrate the values associated with achievement and success; activity and work etc.

(2)    Activity

Students are asked to pick up a picture of their favorite celebrity. 

(3)    Discussion

·     Why is J.Lo is so successful? What values does she uphold? (Achievement and success; hard-working; self-fulfilling; narcissistic; dating a handsome successful male (heterosexual); physically attractive, etc.).

·     Does your favorite celebrity uphold similar values?  Why or why not?

·     What does this image of a celebrity tell us about how we should live our lives, how we should look and behave?

·     Do you think you should strive to be like J.Lo (both in terms of looks and lifestyle)? Why or why not?

·     Do you think you should strive to be like your favorite celebrity? 

(4)    Summary

Enlighten students as to the negative impacts of “positive” values