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Showing posts from May, 2013

Hip Hop, Sociology, and At-Risk Youth

Hip Hop is awesome! When  used in my social studies classroom, a simple hip hop beat can move the most apathetic, uninterested, and alienated of students to pay attention and proclaim, "this is pretty sick!" It has been a tool that I've used  more consistently as I work with youth who are emerged in hip hop culture. At the best of times, I have been able to use the music of Nas, Krs-One, and Eminem to illustrate concepts of poverty, social alienation, and questioning authority. So it only made sense to develop an entire course at our school entitled "Hip Hop and Social Justice" in order to use the elements of hip hop to transform the classroom and learning experience of the students.

At my school, I work with at-risk youth who enter our classrooms with severe gaps in their education. Most have a reading and writing level at a third to fifth grade level as they enter grade ten. Our students are deemed "at-risk", which can basically be interpreted as yo…

Why Do You Teach?

What is the purpose of education? This question is constantly ringing in my head with every decision I make within the classroom. This question, inevitably leads to more: What is the purpose of this lesson? How will this idea affect students? Am I empowering students?....and it goes on.

I believe that asking these types of questions is essential for teachers to be critically reflective of what they are doing within their classrooms. Far too often teachers are led to believe that their role is to make sure that their students are prepared for the 'real world' in order to be 'competitive for the marketplace'. Though this may not sound destructive at first glance, it can have detrimental effects on our students education. 
If our role as teachers  is to make sure our students become employable, then we are missing and ignoring what an education truly is. When we only focus on the employable aspects of our students, then we are merely reduced to training students to succee…