Using hip hop in the classroom

FSD Staff

Hip hop is a unique genre in that it can unite generations and make any experience, including the academic one, exciting for each participant. Teachers can use this kind of music during history classes or represent various cultural fusions possible only in the specific region. The assignment featuring something like that will speak to the deepest and most intimate feelings of each student. 

That’s exactly why many instructors consider it one of the best teaching practices to know what kids are into these days instead of condemning everything new. Here are several specific examples of using hip hop to get involvement and results that no money can buy from each student.

Learning history with Hamilton himself

The musical “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda has moved the hip-hop genre to a new level. Besides quality music and stage setting, this experience is about conveying who that founding father really was and how he, along with his counterparts, brought about the social order that exists in the USA today. The creative strategy that made this acclaimed work so popular is modernizing and humanizing the hero from the 10-dollar bill. In this musical, he’s an immigrant who made a great career by working hard, being a non-stop writer, a courageous soldier, and a loving father. But above all, he’s a human being with his own desires, strengths, and weaknesses.

All viewers can relate to Hamilton so much better because of this portrayal, and the musical style used conveys his energy and talent in a familiar way. This explains so many reviews calling the musical one of the top Broadway works, and chances are that students are going to love it. However, there’s always the question about the credibility of the research that the author did. Does “Hamilton” convey all the truth about the founding father, his military service, political work, and other important periods of his life? Yes and no. Of course, there are creative liberties that need explanations and clarifications. However, that’s not all that matters.

American values of freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness should get amplified, and the young minds need to understand that those aren’t just empty words from the governmental website but the truths that shape American reality. “Hamilton” does a great job of explaining that since this musical feels like a custom piece written specifically for you. If young listeners absorb the spirit and passion of this Broadway show, they’ll be able to learn all the lessons of history and bring their understanding to the companies they’re going to work at and to the essays that they’re going to write. 

How hip hop introduces a cultural variety

Let’s look at three other examples of how cinema glorifies hip hop to expand your understanding of principal human values. These works can be used to study cultures, sociology, psychology, and other important disciplines.

  • “Take the Lead.” This 2006 film directed by Liz Friedlander tells about the classical ball dancing teacher and a bunch of teenage ruffians forming an unbreakable bond and creating a whole new style. It’s not a cheap drama but a powerful work with remixes of famous jazz songs that can truly make you dance. It encourages youngsters to rely on themselves, not someone else’s assistance.
  • In the Heights.” This is also a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the movie that updated it has recently premiered. Directed by Jon M. Chu, this one demonstrates the struggles of the Hispanic population, but it’s not something created from scratch. The author has included his own experience into each line, so there’s a whole new reality waiting for your students.
  • “Do the Right Thing” is a 1989 film by Spike Lee that speaks about institutional racism with all the power of Black culture. It’s got an original jazz soundtrack that also includes the hip-hop pieces written by Public Enemy. The combination is as representative as it is beautiful. The original approach and the powerful message is something that every school and college student should keep in mind.

However stunning these examples are, writing a full lesson plan or creating the review to present the film is sometimes too time-consuming. Luckily, there’s always a reliable company that can get you a sample and ease the burden. For instance, Custom Writings is a trustworthy, time-tested essay writing service that has already helped multiple people across the globe.

Encouraging creativity of students

No student should ever be like a passive customer who just thoughtlessly consumes whatever the instructor says. Yes, their English grammar might not be perfect yet, and yes, the main thing for them should be writing “serious stuff.” Still, allowing learners to get extra credit for the paper that tasks them with writing a poem or a hip hop song if they choose that option is an incredible idea, and here’s why.

Free self-expression is another great value to teach, and the best way to do it is to help each learner discover their talents. This personalized approach will also create more trust between the instructor and their class, laying the foundation for mutual respect and productive work. In contrast, hearing the phrase “you can only write an essay!” over and over again can demotivate many students. Generally, the principle behind this reasoning is pretty straightforward. If you provide your class with creative content, you should also allow the creative reaction to what you show. Otherwise, it’s really going to be pretty unfair.

It’s also natural that hip hop is the genre that children and teenagers value the most. It’s bold, it’s unique, and gives almost absolute creative freedom to anyone who wishes to partake. You don’t need to be a classical poetry expert to write the rhymes your friends will relate to, and that’s inspiring as well. There are countless guides on this matter online, so instructors can help their students by presenting those and lifting their skills to the upper level. Sure, not every learner who has such an experience will become a professional performer, but they’re all going to be grateful for a unique opportunity and empowerment.

Bottom line

As you can see, hip hop is actually a great teaching instrument that can be used in the classroom on multiple levels. Moreover, creative instructors can often help students discover that they are, in fact, good rap writers, which might help those youngsters find their true calling. It’s always a great pleasure to write papers inspired by what one enjoys, even if that’s not the primary medium of education. Few psychological services can provide as much inspiration and enthusiasm as the right kind of music can, and exceptions to this rule are extremely rare. That’s why it’s a great idea to boost the productivity of students with fun material, especially before they write their essays.

 

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