Monday, March 16, 2009

Rappus Pedagogicus

When did rap enter the pedagogical mainstream? When did rap become a broadly used educational tool? I don't know but it for sure did.

Examples I've seen recently:
  1. The fifth grade boys class I assist often chants along to a multiplication rap CD:* "Eleven times eight is... eighty-eight! Twelve times eight is... ninety-six! Prime time! Rhyme time...!"
  2. The other day at morning meeting at Louise's school, a class got up and did a rap about... I'm really not quite sure what. Arthropods? Crustaceans? I was too dazzled by the two students doing a (surprisingly good) Fat Boys-style human beatbox accompaniment** to pay much attention to the actual contents of the song.
Question: Why do educational raps usually have an 80s feel?
a) 80s rap is relatively unsophisticated in its metric structure, and most educational rappers are relatively unsophisticated in their compositional skills?

b) The current generation of educators grew up in the 80s, and the raps they create reflect their stylistic preferences.

c) 80s rap uses sing-song nursery rhyme-like forms, which are more accessible to children than those of later rap styles.

d) All of the above.

e) None of the above.

* All except for the grumpy sophisticate who sits in the corner and mutters, "This rap is lame."

** Mediocre beatboxing is another of my TTAEFFTPDTBPAFAAT.

*** Things that make you go...


  1. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Interesting. You may not know this yet, but we just ordered a complete set from -- rap for all the subject areas! :) some of the teachers have begun using them, and the kids really like it! They also have data to show that students who use rap in the classroom have made noticeable achievement gains. (even if it sounds like it's from the 80's).
    I also once heard of a teacher who put the states and capitols to "The Thong Song". I guess the new content made it more classroom-friendly.

  2. Anonymous11:14 AM

    maybe because in the 80's there was less use of words not meant for tender young ears!

  3. My daughter was "rapping" in kindergarten last year. I don't know what the song was (before or after lyric changes), I was so shocked. I guess I just have to get over it.

    This spring we need a rap for learning how to ride a bike. Know of anything

  4. all of the aboce plus it's much
    slooooooooower than todays stuff.


    the need for extra instruments is not as high -a few extra mouths cover the bases.

    very education budget-friendly