Can't Stop Won't Stop: Understanding & Embracing Hip Hop in Education





Instructor: Aysha Upchurch

(New module.) This module operates from the premise that Hip Hop culture, vibrant and growing since the 1970s, is pervasive beyond its commercial presence and appeal. Many students in formal and informal learning spaces make meaning of the world and their learning through the lens of Hip Hop. As educators, how can we incorporate this culture and its languages into our practice in formal and informal learning environments? Indeed, how we can move beyond surface-level, deficit-based social commentary about Hip Hop and instead leverage it as an asset in our classrooms? This module will explore these questions by unpacking just what Hip Hop is and what Hip Hop education can be. Grounded by an examination of the sociopolitical history of Hip Hop and how it operates from four principles -- peace, love, unity, and having fun—we will investigate three major manifestations of Hip Hop in educational settings: the intrinsic approach, where Hip Hop history and artistic skills are taught; the instrumental approach, where Hip Hop is used as a vehicle to connect to and enrich other curricular content; and the instructional approach, where we consider how the principles and values of Hip Hop culture, with its implicit and explicit critiques of society and dominant cultural paradigms, might inform a critical pedagogy. The course structure and assignments will give students various opportunities to witness, experience, and consider how these three approaches can be used independently and collaboratively in various learning contexts, all with the aim of transformative, empowered teaching and learning.