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In Event: Critical Media Literacy, Eco-Pedagogy, and Hip-Hop Culture: Success and Challenges of Enacting Freirean Pedagogies in North American Schools
PAID IN FULL: Hip Hop in Educational Settings as Freirean Counter to “Banking” Education
In Chapter Two of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire (1970; 1998; 2000) discusses the concept of “banking”, the notion that the instructor is the subject, or narrator and that the student is the object or recipient of knowledge. Freire (1970) argued that the chief operation of a “banking” education was to “minimize their creative power” in an effort to make them servile to their oppressors. Furthermore, Freire (1998) argued that “banking” within education reduced the student’s ability to develop critical consciousness because they were being reinforced by filling in for the worldview of their teacher, the subject.
Hip Hop within the fields of social sciences but particularly in education and psychology hold the “revolutionary potential” for critical consciousness raising as well as humanization. Similar to Freire’s statement that oppressed as not marginal in that they need to be integrated into society, Hip Hop as an art form, aesthetic and urban philosophy emerged within the context of 20th century urban blight borrowing from the musical and cultural legacies of various African- American art forms and aesthetics.
Youth who embrace Hip Hop aesthetically and artistically are therefore producing a humanizing discourse within the context of their respective society. This study sought to explore empirically the concept of Hip Hop within schools as a counter to the banking style of education and as a producer of critically conscious, humanizing education. The study consisted of a longitudinal cohort design using both narrative analysis and the Ryff (1995) Psychological Well-Being Measure of a Hip-Hop performance program within a large urban school in the American south. Results from discourse analysis concluded that youth valued “Critical Consciousness” “Emotional Expression” and “Relationship Development”. Furthermore, results also conclude that the Hip-Hop aesthetic manifested itself into the manner in which youth wrote Standard English Narrative letters.
Implications for the study include that youth use Hip Hop as a humanizing form of literacy, value Hip Hop for its ability to provide a venue for expression and social emotional learning and that youth who felt more marginalized by the traditional educational structure used Hip Hop as a forum for critical thought. Overall youth utilized Hip Hop as a “posing of human problems within a human world” to critically and subjective engage within a standard educational context according to their transformative self-expression.