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Updated: Jul 2, 2019

Hip-Hop pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning that is rooted in Hip- Hop culture; which urban youth identify with (Adjapong & Emdin, 2015). Being culturally relevant through Hip-Hop pedagogy will not only allow students to view themselves and a culture which they value as a part of the classroom, but it can also encourage independent self- education; since students will take increasing responsibility for their learning (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Hip-Hop pedagogical approaches provided opportunities for students to engage in practices that they would generally engage in outside of school.

Hip- Hop is one of the most widely consumed genres of music, and studies demonstrate that urban youth identify as belonging to the Hip-Hop generation. Bringing Hip-Hop culture into bullying prevention models provides an opportunity for students to engage in cultural practices that they engage in outside of school. By learning through Hip-Hop practices that are anchored in students’ culture creates spaces and opportunities for students to gain cultural capital as it relates to relationship building, be critical of the school system, engage in positive cultural effervescence and ultimately see themselves as substantial funds of knowledge.

Hip-Hop pedagogy is defined as a way of authentically and practically incorporating the creative elements of Hip-Hop into teaching, and inviting students to have a connection with the content while meeting them on their cultural turf by teaching to, and through their realities and experiences. Emdin (2010) calls for a teaching approach “which involves a process of learning and/or utilizing the complex nuances of communication in hip-hop and a valuing of student culture” (p. 62). Hip-Hop pedagogy encourages Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic learning styles (Sankey, Birch & Gardiner, 2010). Fleming (2001) proposed that learners have a preferred learning style; namely, visual, aural, read/write or kinesthetic, with many students (about 40%) being multimodal (using a combination of these).

Hip-Hop practices are known to promote positive relationships among participants and positive communal spaces, where “strong ties” are mostly present. Employing Hip-Hop Pedagogy throughout the school environment creates a positive communal space within the classroom that reflects the Hip-Hop community where “strong ties” already exist among participants of Hip-Hop culture. Using Hip-Hop Pedagogy provides an opportunity for the teacher who is traditionally is an “outsider” to Hip-Hop and youth culture to engage in this communal process with students who identify with Hip-Hop. Recreating community structures where “strong ties” are present within the classroom through the implantation of Hip-Hop Pedagogy, also allows for the activation of “strong ties” between teacher and student.

Gay (2010) defines culturally responsive teaching as “using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant to and effective for them. It teaches to and through the strengths of these students” (p. 29). Knowing self is central to Hip-Hop as it encourages participants of Hip-Hop culture to be aware of who they are, be authentic to themselves and be confident in oneself to make a positive social, and political change for their communities. Hip-Hop is a form of cultural capital that many urban youths possess.

IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to help your students and staff members gain an understanding about one’s sense of self and what they deeply value. Having an understanding of one’s values matters because research has shown it is linked to better well-being, less stress and delinquency, and increased confidence in one’s ability to succeed. Understanding students’ values can be developed with culturally responsive practices that reflect a student’s identity and experience. Adults can also be trained in antibullying strategies and techniques to build an inclusive climate. Particularly helpful is focusing efforts on cultural competence and relevance and providing opportunities for students to practice bridging differences between diverse identities in a safe environment.

To learn how you can create a safe and dynamic learning environment that honors your school community, visit our website at, or contact us at or 1800-507-2502.

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