Whole Student Education With a Hip-Hop Lens

The latest release from Professor A.L.I. is not an album, but a succinct text that breaks down the hurdles in education that keeps schools and teachers from serving the whole student.

Written under his real name, Kalyan Balaven offers the following practical insight that touches on his previous works in Hip-Hop Ed, but let’s teachers understand what it looks like when students get to rock out their own show:

“I believe that while a scholar may have knowledge, it is the performer who has the audience. I purposefully use a dynamic and fluid approach to the delivery of content in my courses, in order to establish the austerity that I seek without engaging in moral orthopedics. I believe that if a show is engaging, then no one will desire to leave their seats, and by establishing an expectation of engagement in my class, I can expect students to engage in active learning. However, I believe once the show has started that the show must go on, but without the emcee; this means the audience needs to become the performers. Therefore, I use a descending scale of class facilitation for myself, increasingly shifting the burden of content and skill direction towards students. The goal for my courses is for all learners to be co-creators of knowledge, and the ultimate test of this is being able to step out of my class and see my students engage in the machinations of learning without a conductor, thus teaching themselves. By the end of each semester, my students will direct their own authentic learning, because knowledge acquisition has become their Pavlovian bell, so in the vein of the Hip-Hop eMCee L.L. Cool J, it’s their turn to ‘Rock the Bells’ (LL Cool J, Rock the Bells, 1985).”

If you are an educator teaching during this pandemic, amidst the distraction of devices, and/or navigating the doldrums of teaching in a system that feels like the “industry of education” as opposed to a culture of joyous learning, the following text is a must read: