Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Ten Tips for Teaching Hip Hop and Spoken Word Poetry
1. Be yourself.
If Hip Hop isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Better to “keep it real” and be yourself. In other words, keep it authentic. Find connections to your students that are meaningful to you—but don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. If you love classic poetry, boom—spoken word is calling your name. Open your mind to new voices, cultures, perspectives, and ways of seeing the world. Your students need you to!
2. Create open mic time.
My students love reading their poetry during “open mic” time—this is a low-stakes, nonjudgmental period of 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of every club or class meeting when students can share anything they’ve written—poems, verses, raps, bars, songs, or short stories. No feedback, just snaps! It’s ← 121 | 122 → important to develop a culture of listening and affirmation before getting to this next tip…
3. Workshop the writing.
Start an event! But remember that there is no successful poetry slam or Hip Hop show without good stories. Make sure you spend LOTS of time “workshopping” the poems and songs. Have student-poets and MCs bring in enough copies for everyone and get to work! Emphasize constructive, mature, respectful, critical, specific feedback! This should probably be the number one suggestion! Look at the work of Peter Elbow for...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.