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Hip Hop

Hip Hop music came alive and became popular beginning in the 1970’s. It has been a very popular music genre ever since. "Nothing else, currently, allows for you to talk about race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, politics and the economy like hip hop music and culture," says Michael Barnes, a doctoral candidate at the University of California at Berkley, whose dissertation examines hip hop DJ culture...

Like anything, there are many critics of rap and hip hop that believe that the music and the language have no place in the ears of the youth. While some of the concerns are warranted, it’s how you deal with the discrepancies that matter.
“Not only does hip-hop music engage kids in what they're passionate about, the mnemonic power of rap lyrics make it easy for students to learn and remember information. So we create positive, educational hip-hop music to get kids learning and get them engaged with academic material.? (http://www.flocabulary.com/teachers.html) Sold! What more could educators want? It seems like our job is being done for us. While this statement is written to sell a product, there is a lot of truth to the advertisement. Students are motivated greatly by societal movements – music being a large contributor. Retention is also a large issue lately and I am more than willing to look into “non-traditional? methods in order to increase retention.
It can also be a great learning tool, even just the lyrics themselves. Often, music lyrics mirror societal issues of the time, and thus can be studied as another research resource. The controversies that have been discussed throughout the evolution of hip hop can be used to discuss historical facts as well as becoming a great debate starter in a classroom.
Another way to incorporate this type of music into a classroom can be to encourage the students to become the creators. They love to be given creative freedom in any subject, and writing and performing songs or raps can be a great outlet for not only creativity but for meaningful learning. I have tried this a few times and it has always been a positive experience. This next year, one of my goals is to continue to incorporate as much music as possible, even if it’s just a line from a popular song for reference to a lesson. I struggle with how to make this happen given my subject area, but nothing is impossible if it has the ability to change learning in a positive way.
Whenever you can connect with your students on more than one level, greater, more meaningful learning occurs. This not only enhances your students’ experiences but your own as well. Music is a great way to make these connections.