Rap in the classroom

What do you think about this entry’s title?
Some people might say “Rap in the classroom? No way!”

Nowadays, many countries’ education system incorporate poetry reading and writing. Some countries even include teaching “Haiku”, a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterized by three phases (5-7-5 Japanse syllable pattern) with “Kigo” (a defined word or phrase that symbolizes or implies the season). Also, in Japanese education, students go through Chinese poetry which has a certain style and rhyme.

Well, the point is, poetry has a variety of styles, from which we can learn a lot of things in the classroom, and as a person who believes in the combination of hip hop and education (see “Hip hop education”), I think rap―Hip Hop version of poetry with rhyme―is no exception.
In addition, given that rapping is different from spoken word poetry in that it is performed in time to a beat, I think it requires more skills than other types of poetry.

And voila (!), there are some interesting examples on rapping in the classroom, such as “student rap contest”.

As some of you might have noticed, I am a big fun of NYtimes since it has rich resources to know about what is going on in the world. Besides the international section, my favorite is “the Learning network”, which shows some lesson materials, one of which is student rap contest.

The detail of this contest and lesson plan can be found at “this link “, but just to summarize, here is how this works:

  1. Students pick up a category to talk about (world, health, politics, art, etc.) and read some NYtimes’ articles on that field.
  2. Write a 12-16-long-line rap based on what they read (what’s important is to pick the right lyric to rhyme)
  3. Express it to the beat.

The good thing about this is that it is not only for the contest but also for regular teaching so classroom teachers can use this as a lesson material (or the rules can be modified depending on the context of the student body).
And from this lesson, students can learn to investigate the topic, choose the right words, and express it to a beat (rhythm is important for speech, music, dance, etc.)
And above all, playing with words is quite fun.

I hope more people will see the potential of the education with rap and hip hop.

If you are interested in this topic, please also check out the “Flocaburlary” which makes educational hip hop video and songs with content and curriculum material to engage students.

Here are some videos rapping about the recent historical events, which make me think that rap making can be a good education method to learn and memorize history or other subjects.

【Year in Rap 2013 (Flocabulary)】

【The Last 18 Years in Rap 1996 – 2014 (Flocabulary)】


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