Many educators already know that hip-hop can be a powerful tool for engaging students. But can hip-hop save our schools? In Hip Hop Genius, Sam Seidel introduces an iteration of hip-hop education that goes far beyond the usual approach of studying rap music as classroom content and looks instead at deeply honoring the knowledge of urban students. Seidel lays out a vision for how hip-hop's genius—the resourceful creativity and swagger that took it from a local phenomenon to a global force—can lead to a fundamental remix of the way we think of teaching, school design, and leadership.
Through stories about the professional rapper who founded the first hip-hop high school and the aspiring artists currently enrolled there, Hip Hop Genius invites readers to think outside the (boom)box about what hip-hop education can mean and to consider the implications that a broader definition of hip-hop education could have on their teaching and learning experiences.
This book is for all of the educators in need of new solutions and all the hip-hop heads who know hip-hop is far more than music. It is for everyone who refuses to watch brilliant young people slip through the cracks and is down to take action.
Samuel Steinberg Seidel —
Sam Seidel has taught in a variety of settings from first grade to community college and directed an award-winning arts program for young people in, and transitioning out of, prison. He now works with several national networks of innovative schools; speaks at education events; and writes for The Husslington Post, GOOD, and a variety of other publications. To learn more about his work, the book, and how you can book Sam to speak in your school or community, please check out www.HipHopGenius.org.
Seidel, Samuel Steinberg. Hip hop genius: remixing high school education. Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. 172p index afp; ISBN 9781610480260; ISBN 9781610480284 e-book. Reviewed in 2012apr CHOICE.
This book describes the pedagogy and curriculum of an alternative high school that is rooted in hip-hop culture and has demonstrated some success in retaining students who might otherwise be among the 1.23 million high school dropouts in America every year. It also attempts to explain hip-hop as a philosophy and way of life to the uninitiated. While the library is at the heart of a traditional school, the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, has as its core a recording studio. Curriculum is centered on music production and prepares students for a wide range of jobs related to the recording business. It is a curriculum that makes sense to young African Americans. Claiming that traditional programs subject minority students to "identity abuse," this school is predicated on providing an environment that reflects rather than transforms student culture. The program features individualized, project-based learning in real-world contexts. Although there are plenty of anecdotal success stories in this book, it lacks the student achievement data that would make it useful for an academic audience.
Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. -- I. Rosenthal, The College of St. Rose