Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls
Chapter 5. Breakbeat Pedagogy
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. 5 .
My break beat is to break away from yo thang. –Arrested Development
Student DJ plays beats for the crowd. (photo credit: Jose Flores) ← 51 | 52 →
Breakbeat Pedagogy: A Framework
The term “Hip Hop Hop–based education” (HHBE) has been used to describe the curricular and pedagogical uses of Hip Hop’s four elements—DJing, Breakdancing, Rapping, and Graffiti Art. However, the theoretical and practical applications of HHBE remain unclear and there is sufficient need to question, clarify, and reimagine what HHBE might look like in schools. There is no shortage of critics who deem this kind of teaching and learning as “gimmicky,” superficial, and ambiguous.
I propose a new framework, based on HHBE, which aims to clarify what this pedagogy looks like when a school more fully integrates the elements of Hip Hop via the performance art space. It is built on theory, but ultimately is based in reality. This framework is called Breakbeat Pedagogy (BBP).
Breakbeat Pedagogy is the art of the Hip Hop event. It involves the process of creating a poetry slam or Hip Hop event, alongside students, to initiate a democratic space for the elements to live and thrive within a school community. Hip Hop has a long tradition of “the event”—from South Bronx block parties to community centers to back-to-school jams at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. (Chang, 2005). “The event” is where the...
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