Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

In my School & Society course, we learned the term "culturally relevant pedagogy" from one of the readings.  Ladson-Billings coined the phrase and I heard about it in my Science & Tech course later on too.  Both instructors are with the Inner-City option. No surprise.

One of the the examples in the article is of an African American primary teacher named Patricia Hilliard who used rap music in the her Grade 2 poetry lesson.  They brought in sample lyrics themselves.  But before that of course they talked about acceptable songs and non-offensive lyrics.  In class they discussed figurative meanings and poetic devices like "rhyme scheme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia" (Research #5, 161).

Teaching is just common sense, for many people.  As controversial as that common idea is, it's somewhat true.  How can you begin to teach a bunch of kids Keats and sonnets, if you don't tap into a resource they're already familiar with?  Why teach them about dead poets when they don't see the connection to their youth or ethnic culture?

So my argument is, if you can break from the cat in the hat rhymes for a couple lessons and get away with teaching poetry with these words, then why not? Especially if it makes sense to kids and you're hitting expectations all the same.
I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, ah you don't stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat...

See I am wonder mike and I like to say hello
to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow
But first I gotta bang bang the boogie to the boogie
Say up jump the boogie to the bang bang boogie
Let's rock, you don't stop

-from Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"

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