« Authors Lament Dearth of Black Characters in Children's Fiction | Main | How to Thrive in Teaching: One Educator's Journey »

Using Hip-Hop as an Educational Tool

In my first year of college, one of my professors opened every class by having a student reading the lyrics of a song. Then we had to guess the artist or song title. My professor didn't limit song genres, and many students read rap or hip-hop lyrics. These songs got us in the mindset of analysis and discussion.

Christopher Emdin, the co-creator of the education movement #HipHopEd, shares my former professor's belief that hip-hop has a place in the classroom.

Emdin, an associate professor of science at Teachers College at Columbia University, started #HipHopEd on Twitter in 2010 with Brandon Frame, the director of business partnerships and program development at High School, Inc. The Twitter conversation began with a discussion between the two educators about Jay-Z's memoir Decoded and has grown into an international professional-development and education movement.

The conversation transformed into a weekly Twitter chat on Tuesdays from 9 to 10 p.m. ET, focusing on the intersection of hip-hop music and culture with education. By 2011, the chats were engaging educators and hip-hop fans around the world.

The chat's goal is "to promote, preserve, and protect hip-hop and inspire, initiate, and intellectualize hip-hop as a means of sustained education and youth development," according to Emdin's website.

#HipHopEd chats have centered on album releases, the President's State of the Union Addresses, hip-hop pedagogy, Civil Rights instruction, and more. Discussions are "archived" by @chirpstory. These Twitter chats offer techniques to incorporate hip-hop in the classroom, lesson ideas for covering diverse topics, and reflections on culture from hip-hop enthusiasts and educators.

Emdin, who has given a TEDx presentation on "reality pedagogy," is this year's Rosel Schewel Lecturer at Lynchburg College in Virginia. He will speak about tangible tools for teachers on March 20 at 7 p.m. in Lynchburg College's Memorial Ballroom.

Here are some related Education Week stories dealing with hip-hop's relevance in education:

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments