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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 5. We Ain’t Failing


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“And that’s one reason why the students aren’t winning; got standardized testing on individualized children …”

Say What?

According to Zitlow and Kohn (2001), standardized testing has several aims. Among some of those aims are the following: a means of promoting a sense of “back-to-basics instruction,” for political gain and for corporate profits. Standardized testing in America has grown into its own business. For years teachers and students alike have complained about standardized testing; and for years standardized testing has remained the “go-to” method for measuring learning within our schools. In a survey conducted by Walker (2016) nearly seventy percent of teachers agreed that current standardized testing methods were an inefficient means of means of measurement. Limits of the testing include: not assessing material that students had the opportunity to learn during the school year, providing feedback to students to assist with learning, and assisting educators in setting responsible academic goals for students (Walker, 2016). We understand this issue to include many different forms of testing. For the ease of understanding, in this chapter, we will speak of standardized testing in terms of academic assessment. ← 75 | 76 →

An approach to assessment which incorporates student’s prior knowledge is one possible solution. Teachers who allow students to inform learning in the classroom are offering an environment in which learning can flourish. When student prior knowledge is considered, students feel a sense of self-worth and communal attitude...

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