In the last 10 years, America has been involved in a massive pushback against culturally biased education in everything from learning materials to standardized test questions.
Dr. Christopher Emdin, the author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too, has been on the forefront of this rebuke of the nation’s educational system. Emdin uses cultural specific curriculums to find teaching success with students in urban communities, where oftentimes students are maligned and forgotten.
As a part of his educational philosophy, Emdin has solicited the help of rappers to stress the importance of education in the classroom using culture as a facilitator for learning.
In the research conducted by Urban Spaces, a certain demographic appeals to young people who are disengaged from school. Emdin said, “You have kids who have complete disinterest in what’s going on in the classroom, but the minute they leave the school building they put their headphones on or they go home and watch videos, or they get on social media and they are following rappers, or these sort of musical icons.
“The idea was if you want the same kind of engagement that they have with those artists in the classroom, that excitedness, that motivation, why not bring these folks into the classroom?”
Surprisingly, Edmin found that many of the cultural icons in pop culture that are “perceived to be inherently negative or violent or misogynistic or hyper-capitalist are actually deeply interested in education, they want to give back to the community, they want to be positive role models and they just don’t know how.”
Edmin has been able to bridge the gap between those cultural figures and the students who admire them by bringing artists into the classroom “to serve as a motivator to young people” as well as engage them in the academic process.
Watch guest host Derek McGinty, Dr. Christopher Emdin, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss how culture can be used in the classroom to teach our youth in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty