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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 3. Don’t Smile Till November


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“Imagine greeting all your students with genuine love vibes, and teaching them how to express what’s hidden inside, their deepest thoughts and emotions so they can clarify and share their perspective with peers and watch it magnify …”

Say What?

Classroom management is probably one of the most important pieces to K–12 classroom education. It seems that everyone has an opinion on how it should work, what philosophies should be used and when the best times are to implement a behavior plan in the classroom. According to Canter (1989) since the 1970’s, teachers have been taught strategies such as “Don’t smile until Christmas” or “if your curriculum is good enough, you won’t have to worry about behavior (p. 58). Morris (n.d.) re-visits the idea in his blog liking it to traditional classroom management tactics. While some will say these are an old adage, others will tell you that seasoned teachers are encouraging pre-service teachers to follow some of these rigid procedures to maintain order in their classrooms. An important assumption of such a procedure is that the most important aspect of teaching is maintaining control of the classroom (Redman, 2005). Speaking from personal experience, pre-service teachers are not trained in many classroom management strategies. ← 47 | 48 →

While they are generally given strategies to manage classroom behavior during pre-service course work, it is very difficult for them to conceptualize how this will actually...

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