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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 7. Get on Board


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“See nowadays we don’t have too many choices, invest in the future and help the youth discover their voices, defining their alternative identities and live joyous, we came to tell you about YCP and its importance.”

Say What?

With the ongoing struggles of teaching in urban classrooms today, teachers need all the support they can get to be successful. In professional development classes, teachers are constantly taught “best practices” in the areas of classroom management, behavior management, instruction, etc. However, one aspect of teaching we believe gets overlooked the most is the human element. Teachers and students are human. Human beings thrive off relationships, care and social interaction (Noddings, 2005). If these concepts are forgotten then teaching can fall into a behavioristic framework that can become stagnant, unforgiving and at times, hostile. We aim to push using a relational framework of teaching that is fluid and allows both teachers and students to learn from one another. For too long interactions in schools have been one-sided in which the approach is for only the teacher to give knowledge or information to the student. As part of reality pedagogy, Emdin speaks on using a ← 99 | 100 → transactional approach to teaching in which both the teacher and the student gain something from their interaction (Elon University, 2012).

We believe that this approach takes into account the human element that is often forgotten. But for you to...

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