Rap is no longer a stranger to the classroom. It hasn’t only made it’s way in through kids’ hidden headphones either – teachers have begun using it to help students learn. While stories like these seem to pop up occasionally, this latest story from the New York Times struck me as different. The teacher in this story called his use of rap a way to bridge the “engagement gap.”
Looking at the achievement gap as an engagement gap could be helpful for educators – it’s not that some children can’t learn, it’s a matter of finding out what does reach them and use that to make gains.
The teachers in the NYTimes story are from the organization Fresh Prep started by the Urban Arts Partnership. Currently they’ve got tunes for History and Geography – English is coming soon. The songs are pretty phenomenal – you can sample a few of them on their website. For a taste, check out this rap on Geography that features topography, slash and burn farming, and Mesopotamia: