Hip-Hop Lecturer Urges Integration of Culture in Education
The next phase in hip-hop education is the pedagogy of hip-hop, Columbia University Professor Marc Lamont Hill said during an Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives lecture series event last night.
Hill defined pedagogy as the act of teaching or transmitting knowledge to students.
“We aren’t asking if hip-hop education works; we already know it does,” Hill said. “Hip-hop is a way that students occupy a sonic space when they can’t physically be there because of discriminating rules.”
Hill said it is not just about the quantitative outcomes of educating students with hip-hop, but what the student themselves intellectually learned. Hip-hop and education creates a healing place to deal with drama, he said.
The next phase of hip-hop education is to no longer keep European measures at the center of education, but instead explore the culture of hip-hop, according to Hill.
“The historical context of hip-hop is rich, and you can’t understand the multifaceted beats of music if you can’t understand the history,” Hill said.
He encouraged teachers to be practitioner inquiries, researchers of their own about hip-hop. Teachers do not have to teach with the same procedures, but with the same principles, according to Hill.
Hill said it is key to allow students to relate to the class subject using hip-hop in order to learn the same material as though hip-hop were not applied.
“Historically, hip-hop was a bridge and only used as an anchor to learn. We want to use it as its own,” Hill said. “I can’t give you a list of procedures because one year from now the culture is going to change, so that list won’t matter.”
Hill added a hip-hop literature curriculum should continue throughout the whole school year, instead of only using it to relate to students in the beginning.
“This lecture made me think about the dynamics of my classroom,” UW education major Myriha Burton said. “I stress principles, and to hear him say it makes me feel like I’m headed in the right direction.”
Hill also focused on the principle of literature. The language derived from hip-hop lyrics engages the students to think critically about media literacy.
Something he wants teachers to also be aware of is the cultural background of students when teaching with hip-hop. If hip-hop is incorporated into the classroom, Hill said that both bad and good hip-hop should be included.
“Hip-hop is culturally involved, and some of the songs bring up uncomfortable meanings,” Hill said. “It forces us to talk about topics that are traumatizing.”
Often hip-hop is brought into education by people with romanticized views, meaning they only keep the hip-hop that is clean, according to Hill. He called it “stuff that is sanitized.”
Burton added the lecture made her realize that teaching is more than just textbooks.
“We have to use hip-hop as an entry point into the critical world,” Hill said. “It brings in material to the classroom that lets children connect. Hip-hop education is about dislodging and dislocating ourselves and engaging in a pedagogy that is not yet.”