Can a Hip-Hop Curriculum Promote and Encourage Learning?

hip hopHip-Hop is everywhere and 90% of today’s youth are tuning in. Just as technology is introduced in classroom instruction and utilized to supplement and reinforce content knowledge and skills acquisition, we must continue to adopt new ways to teach, engage students and facilitate learning. ‘Traditional’ teaching methodologies and framework of established “best practices” sadly contribute to the disconnect and disengagement of today’s goal-oriented, digital learners at school. Students need challenges, yes, but they need more relevance in order to generate and sustain interest and motivation in the classroom. If they can’t relate, then they won’t invest, engage or participate! What must we do to encourage learners to want to learn?

So, here we have this musical genre that’s brought into the formal curriculum, borne of the cultural awareness of educators who want to connect students with high interest learning materials to teach content. What happens is that we witness students who are engaging, learning important academic  concepts and applying newly acquired 21st Century skills. Additionally, they are more excited about learning and are achieving at higher levels, while becoming competent college and career ready students. Best of all, we use their music and adapt lessons according to topic, subject or learning task. Students aren’t bored, nor are they engaging in disruptive behaviors, They are discussing, debating, examining, writing, and learning, and isn’t that what we want?

hip class

Note this novel approach to teaching today’s youth, the strategies employed and the medium has modern applicability. Also note the positive impact of a little creativity in the classroom. Student engagement, real life relevance, and teaching ‘outside of the textbook’ encourages writing, learning and critical-thinking skills, and an actual hip-hop curriculum comes to life for students.

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Share your thoughts about this teaching tool! Would this be something that all schools should seek to incorporate into their standards-based curriculum?



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