Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: Teaching through Rap

This can easily turn into a Venting the Anger post, but I will try my best to not let my anger get the better of me.

Education today is all about reaching everyone and well for lack of better words "No Child Left Behind". This is the reason behind Oklahoma City's brilliant idea of Teaching through Rap program. Of course, this wouldn't be for everyone, it would only be for the "at-risk" children. Talk about a stereotype. Apparently, "at-risk" students can only learn through rap and not like everyone else does.

So here are some of the lyrics for the U.S. History portion;
When talking about Andrew Jackson
"Andrew Jackson thinks he's a tough guy. Killing more Indians than there are stars in the sky. Evil wars of Florida killing the Seminoles. Saying hello, putting Creek in the hell holes. Like Adolf Hitler he had the final solution. 'No, Indians, I don't want you to live here anymore."
I love how we have managed to describe one of the early presidents and general like Adolf Hitler. Isn't education great?

How about the description of James Madisons' presidency?
"White men getting richer than Enron. They stepping on Indians, women and blacks. Era of Good Feeling doesn't come with the facts."
Nice...I forgot to mention the name of the song that talks about the Founding Fathers is called Old Dead White Men. How respectful. Oklahoma City has suspended this until they look at it further, or until Fox News stops reporting on it. Sad part is that the creators say that it is being used in 10,000 schools. That's a scary thought.

My question would be, how are these "at-risk" children going to succeed after this? If they go to college, are we going to expect the colleges to teach through rap as well? What if they get a job and their boss asks them to do something, will he have to rap the instructions to them? Or if they have a presentation, will they know how to give the information accordingly or will they not have a clue because they are learning that this is education.

I always thought part of education was to prepare students for the "real world". It seems like more and more that we are creating a bubble to protect students from failing. How will they handle failure when they become adults?

This is where education is heading though. Make sure everyone passes, everyone feels good about themselves, and individualize everyone's lesson so they are successful. That sounds familiar.