Thursday, October 7, 2010

Promoting Academic Literacy...Through Hip-hop

Morrell, E and Duncan-Andrade, J. (2002) “Promoting Academic Literacy with Urban Youth Through Engaging Hip-hop Culture.” National Council of Teacher s of English.
Summary/analysis: In this article, Ernest Morrell and Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade lay out the case for incorporating the study of hip-hop music as one way to forge meaningful relationships with students while developing important academic skills “needed to become critical citizens in a multicultural democracy” (88). Hip-hop, generally acknowledged as “a resistant voice of urban youth through its articulation of problems” that our students face on a daily basis is valuable for several reasons. First, because of the consciousness-raising element of hip-hop, the authors reference Freire’s argument that raising critical consciousness in an oppressed group of people, “is the first step in helping them to obtain critical literacy and, ultimately, liberation from oppressive ideologies” (89). Secondly, they argue that hip-hop texts are literary texts, full of figurative language, irony, plot, characters, point of view, etc, and can be used as a bridge to teaching classic texts. Third, they argue that hip-hop texts provide an excellent springboard for discussion about contemporary issues. After laying out their argument, the authors discuss how they incorporated hip-hop into their classrooms and set up comparative texts –pairing hip-hop texts with classic literature with similar themes or messages.
Response: This seems so obvious and such a great way to engage students and make material relevant. The only thing I worry about for myself would be authenticity. Could I, a white woman, pull this off? Or would I be seen as trying too hard? Perhaps this is one of those times when I look to the students as the experts and have them teach me.

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