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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 2. Classroom Chatter


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“See this Chatter is their voice, their expressions, that same Chatter is what taught me these lessons, I learn things like who barely slept last night because their parents are having issues and had a REAL BIG FIGHT! …”

Say What?

As an educator, do you allow your students to speak or socialize in your classroom? One issue that teacher’s struggle with is student chatter within the classroom. Some teachers allow this (even if at certain times within the class period), while others never allow this chatter to take place. Some teachers will tell you that allowing this chatter will disrupt your class and can even lead to the class becoming unruly. As a matter of principle, they will tell you that allowing students to have conversations in the classroom shows signs of bad classroom management. The topic of classroom management is generally mentioned alongside the principles of behaviorist frameworks. However, my research primarily focuses on teacher-student relationships through pedagogy of relation (Bingham & Sidorkin, 2004; Sidorkin, 2002). Teacher’s, using an ethic of care (Noddings, 2002), develop lasting, meaningful relationships with students. Once these relationships are established ← 33 | 34 → and NURTURED, classroom management becomes an almost autonomous task. Thus, the bulk of my research connects relationships as a method of classroom management. The next several chapters will discuss relationships and care more in depth.

In this chapter, we will associate the idea of using pedagogy...

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