Blog Post # 5 - Starting With Style: Toward a Second Wave of Hip-Hop Education Research and Practice
Petchauer (2015), in his article, Starting With Style: Toward a Second Wave of Hip-Hop Education Research and Practice, conducts a sophisticated analysis of hip-hop, as not simply a genre of music but as a way of being, an aesthetic thread and a methodology of making meaning and dealing with the world that some individuals effectively choose to deploy.
Petchauer (2015), in the first half of his article, seeks to unpack some of the main forms across hip-hop drawing from various theoretical paradigms seeking to show how sampling, flow, layering and rupture are key features of the aesthetic form of hip-hop. The second half of his article seeks to relate hip-hop to education and the employment of aesthetic elements to create a pedagogical paradigm that informs teaching and learning. Petchauer (2015) states that in the broadest sense he is endeavouring to drill down into the abstract concepts of hip-hop that manifest in specific visual, sonic, linguistic, and kinesthetic ways, and applying them in equally specific ways to education (Petchauer, 2015, p. 101).
As an educator, what struck me as intriguing about Petchaeur’s framework was that not only was he offering a methodology through which to understand, deconstruct and apply social justice and social activism issues in the classroom, but also the contradiction between the subversive nature of the framework which challenges institutional ideologies and the fact that, as quasi-governmental organizations, schools in Ontario strive to impose an established “approved order” and discipline on students and on teachers. While risk-taking by educators is encouraged as a pedagogical strategy, this “risk taking” is often closely defined in a manner that does not contradict established norms of behaviour or models of teaching. Petchaeur has established connections between various theoretical paradigms that are used in education and the forms of hip-hop but the acceptance of those connections is not broadly widespread in the educational hierarchy. One analogous area in which there seems to be some ground being covered between Petchaeur’s framework and wider acceptance is in the deployment of technology in education, in particular, the strategy of Makerspaces/Hackerspaces, and to some extent, the use of social media in classrooms where individual representation and aesthetic form are deployed as acceptable forms of educational representation.
Finally, and what may perhaps be most attractive to some, about Petchaeur’s framework is the counter-culture narrative and appeal inherent in his framework. For some educators who are struggling to stay within the defined bounds of “acceptance” while being frustrated by its limitations, the furthering and acceptance of Petchaeur’s work offers an opportunity to redefine and change the parameters of what they do in the classroom.
Petchaeur, E. (2015). Starting With Style: Toward a Second Wave of Hip-Hop Education Research and Practice. Urban Education, 50(1), 78-105.
Daraius M. Bharucha is a history educator and Department Head of History at Bill Crothers Secondary School. Daraius is also a student at UOIT in the M.Ed. in Digital Technology Program.