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Youth Culture Power

A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement


Jason D. Rawls and John Robinson

In our schools, hip-hop culture is the dominant culture among the students. In Youth Culture Power: A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement, Jason D. Rawls and John Robinson, educators and hip-hop artists with experience in the urban classrooms, focus their efforts through Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE). They argue that hip-hop culture could be useful in building relationships and building student engagement.

The approach to achieve this is Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP). YCP is based in a foundation of reality pedagogy (Emdin, 2014), culturally responsive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995), and HHBE (Hill, 2009; Petchauer, 2009). In this volume, the authors lay the groundwork for YCP and how they envision its use within the classroom.

In Youth Culture Power, the authors put forth their C.A.R.E. Model of youth pedagogy to help teachers create a positive learning environment by building relationships and lessons around students’ own culture. Instead of forcing students to give up the things they frequent, Rawls and Robinson feel teachers should discuss them and when possible, use them in lessons. The purpose of this book is to present a fresh take on why educators should not discount the culture of youth within the classroom.

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Chapter 1. YCP (Youth Culture Power)


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“We don’t even gotta speak … and we do the same things … we stay connected worldwide … we all know the same slang … already changed the whole game”

Say What?

As we were researching and writing this book, the newest phenomenon to take place in our schools were Fidget Spinners. The Fidget Spinner was originally designed for students who have attention disorders or high anxiety to help them remain calm and focused. For some reason around the spring of 2017, they became the hottest toy on the market. John and I noticed that not only younger children were playing with them, but so were our high school students. It amazed us how quickly the phenomenon had taken place. My son even wanted one. While John teaches in Brooklyn, New York, I teach in Columbus, Ohio and we both noticed that students had the spinners almost around the same time. We spoke with other educators we knew around the country and the spinners were all over. Even my local news station did a TV report on them. We even noticed they were a part of youth culture across the globe (Rutherford, 2017). They were everywhere. And then, almost as fast as they had arrived on the scene, they were gone. They had been replaced by something else, and of course soon that new item would be replaced as well. ← 1 | 2 →

When the worldwide Fidget...

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