The Kids Need Hip-Hop: Reengaging Students through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
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My thesis advocates for critically-conscious hip-hop in classrooms to promote student engagement and culturally relevant pedagogical practices. This proposed approach to educating youth offsets the harmful effects of a normalized curriculum that limits students’ creativity and discounts their experiences as lifelong learners. My thesis gathers data from research literature on hip-hop and education, critically-conscious hip-hop lyrics, and also includes my own hip-hop muse to illustrate the positive tenets of critically-conscious hip-hop. The research literature in my thesis is gathered from multiple studies within North American high schools. My hip-hop muse interrelates with critically-conscious hip-hop lyrics because they both address contemporary issues through social commentary and critical awareness. The element of social commentary in my hip-hop muse is displayed through short poems and verses that outline my experiences in a normalized schooling environment. Throughout my thesis, I uncover the causes of student disengagement in classrooms, the ways in which critically-conscious hip-hop music serves as a tool for reengaging youth, and the approaches that must be taken in order to adequately integrate hip-hop into today’s classrooms. My thesis is important within the context of Canadian classrooms because it acts as an agent for social change and cultural relevance through a critical lens. The purpose of this approach, then, is to demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of our society and schooling system through social critique and proposals for change. More importantly, my thesis is grounded in equity; in which critically-conscious hip-hop serves as a bridge for students’ experiences, interests, and independent identities.