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Breakbeat Pedagogy

Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls


Brian Mooney

Breakbeat Pedagogy provides a groundbreaking framework for the inclusion of hip-hop culture in schools. Looking beyond the previous model of hip-hop-based education, Brian Mooney argues for school-wide hip-hop events, such as poetry slams, as the ideal site for students to engage in the elements of hip-hop culture. Working from the perspective of a classroom teacher, the author reflects on the story of Word Up!, a hip-hop and spoken word poetry event that began with students in a New Jersey high school. He makes the case for a pedagogy with the potential to transform urban schools and the way we think about them. This is essential reading for any teacher committed to social justice and culturally relevant education.
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Shout Outs


This book would not have been possible without God, my wife, family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and students. Shout out to my wife, Ani—I love you with all the light in my being. Special shout out to Michael Cirelli and Urban Word NYC for always believing in me. Huge shout out to Dr. Chris Emdin, whose brilliance, love, and mentorship have become a model for the kind of relationships I strive to maintain with the young people in my life. Thanks for reminding me to “stay low and keep firing.” Shout out to the whole #HipHopEd movement, especially Ian Levy, Edmund Adjapong, Emily Bailin, Tim Jones, and Amil Cook. Shout out to the English Education Department at Teachers College. Shout out to my mentor at work, Mickey Diamond, the teacher I want to be when I grow up. Shout out to Allyson Krone, my vice principal, who has supported and encouraged me since day one. Shout out to the Performing Arts Department, especially Scott Killian and Rod Shepard. Shout out to all my students, to whom this whole book is dedicated. Shout out to Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment. Shout out to Jon Sands. Shout out to David Kirkland. Shout out to Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz. Shout out to Bronwen Low. Shout out to Kevin Coval and the Breakbeat Poets who gave me so much life and inspiration with their dope anthology of poetry. Shout out to Taylor Mali. Shout out to Paul Beresniewicz for the stunning cover art....

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