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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Poetry out of poison" : exploring rap music as critical pedagogy Dares, Jasmine


How to create learning experiences that are more relevant and empowering for young people is an ongoing issue for educators, youth workers, parents, social scientists, and students. Critical pedagogical theorists have identified gaps in formal education which limit the possibilities for critical thinking and student-centredness (Ibrahim, 2004; Low, 2007, 2011; McLaren, 1997). While many of these studies have been conducted in classroom settings, this study focuses on what can be learned from youth programs that were collaboratively developed by program directors and rap artists in community organizations. Using qualitative interviews and drawing from cultural studies, this research engages the perspectives of five participants who are actively involved in the development and implementation of hip hop youth programs. The emergent themes from the interviews highlighted hip hop culture’s relationship with social justice and social contradictions. These findings support the claim that critical rap pedagogies provide young people with more relevant learning experiences and with greater possibilities to draw connections between their own experiences and the wider community leading to greater opportunities for agency and empowerment.

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