Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Towards A Pedagogy of Hip Hop in Urban Teacher Education

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Towards A Pedagogy of Hip Hop in Urban Teacher Education

Article excerpt

This article draws from a qualitative study often Black male K-12 teachers from the Hip Hop Generation who are closely connected to Hip Hop culture and have been effective in addressing the academic and social needs of Black boys. Through an analysis of their social, educational and cultural experiences, this article highlights three organizing principles drawn from Hip Hop Culture-(a) Call to Service, (b) Commitment to Self-Awareness, and (c) Resistance to Social Injustice-which profoundly shaped the teaching identities of these Black men. The author discusses the implications of these principles for conceptualizing and creating teaching and learning environments that are supportive for Black male teachers and increase the capacity of all teachers to effectively teach diverse student populations.

Keywords: teacher education, Black male teachers, Hip Hop pedagogy

Hip Hop has become a buzzword in teacher education, particularly as it relates to training teachers for service in urban schools. The idea of borrowing from popular culture to support instruction is not new to teacher education. However, the academic challenges facing urban, and particularly Black male students, has heightened imperatives to find innovative models for drawing more Black men into teaching and for effectively training teachers of all backgrounds to educate diverse student populations. One response to these imperatives has been an increasing focus on Hip Hop and its potential for teaching and learning.

Hip Hop has been both demonized and commodified in the field of education and in broader U.S. society. It has been characterized as hyper-masculine, overtly sexual, and criminal and, as such, antithetical to the positive, personal, and academic growth and development of urban youth. At the same time, Hip Hop has been commodified and sold to young people of all backgrounds by the media and entertainment industry, and it has been packaged as an instructional tool for advancing traditional and, often, narrows curricular goals. It is no coincidence that these processes of demonization and commodification reflect parallel practices in schools and society that strip away the value and promise of Black boys and men, who are the primary creators and supporters of Hip Hop.

Given the current context of urban education and the national initiative to increase the numbers of Black male teachers in U.S. public schools, it is an opportune time for teacher education to capitalize on the relationship between Black men, urban youth, and Hip Hop culture to attract Black male teachers and to captivate the minds of students from all cultures. However, this will require a deeper and more authentic understanding of the meaning and value of Hip Hop and its implications for the education of teachers and students.

This article draws from a qualitative study of 10 Black male K-12 teachers from the Hip Hop Generation who are closely connected to Hip Hop culture and have been effective in addressing the academic and social needs of, especially, Black boys. Through an analysis of their social, educational and cultural experiences, this article highlights three organizing principles drawn from Hip Hop culture - (a) call to service, (b) commitment to self-awareness, and (c) resistance to social injustice - which profoundly shaped the teaching identities of these Black men. The author discusses the implications of these principles for conceptualizing and creating teaching and learning environments that are supportive for Black male teachers and that increase the capacity of all teachers to effectively teach diverse student populations, particularly in urban schools.

RE-CONCEPTUALIZING HD? HOP CULTURE

My interest in re-conceptualizing Hip Hop and re-imaging Black men as conduits for reformation in urban teacher education undergirds the fundamental belief in their collective capacities to encourage urban youm to make meaning of, and more fully engage in, their educational journeys whUe creating classroom contexts ttvat normalize meir orientations towards service to humanity, self-awareness, social justice, and community activism. …

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