Hip Hop Culture in Education

I’m not up to date on my hip hop culture, so at first I was wondering why this article was important in our readings. While reading it and made many clear and precise points. Relationship building, promoting black history (a topic I am definitely under developed in), building culture in your classroom, are a few points that stuck out to me. Using hip hop as a tool in the classroom can promote social justice and youth activism in a variety of ways. Not only does encouraging and incorporating hip hop allow you to build a sense of connection with students interests, It gives a different view on how learning can occur. The words that are used in hip hop music tell a story and usually a story that isn’t being told in regular education classes. Incorporating hip hop education also connects you and the students with culture. In the article Critical Hip Hop Pedagogy as a Form of Liberatory Praxis we are introduced to “Critical Hip Hop Pedagogy (CHHP) that can respond to issues of racism and other axis of social difference that Black people/people of color face in urban and suburban schools and communities” (Akom p.54). Encouraging hip hop in your classroom as an educator can help students deal with racism, teach students about world issues that are happening (BLM Movement is a strong and prevalent issue occurring in our world currently), teach students about diversity, and promote advocacy and build relationship among students. Allowing this teaching can build justice-orientated students that promote and question the whys! Why is our school teaching about hidden histories and ignoring the histories of other races? We have and are starting to see the movement for change with “Black Lives Matter.” One of my professors this semester actually took part in the scholar strike to support and stand in solidary with the issues Black people are facing today with police brutality. Building students knowledge about Black histories and involving hip hop culture in your classroom also helps Black students relate to someone that is similar to them or their experiences. The relationship between hip hop culture and the development of critical consciousness amongst students is a form of “resiliency and resistance that can be developed to challenge the dominant mind set, increase academic engagement and achievement, and build new understandings of the strength and assets of youth of color and the communities from which they come” (Akom p. 57).

Week 7 – What Citizen Will you Teach?

The type of citizenship education I remember growing up according to the article What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy written by Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne would range from personally responsible citizen to participatory citizen. I do no recall any experiences that would of lead us to bigger issues and classified my learning to be justice-orientated citizens. I remember having classes where we would go outside, walk around the community, and pick garbage. Some of the classroom teacher’s I had made our class responsible for the recycling of the school etc. Teachers would fundraise for certain organizations and my parents would send me with food for the food hampers or dog treats for the humane society. Those are some examples of being a personally responsible citizen that I can remember. I was involved in the SLC in elementary school and the SRC in high school, this allowed for more growth in the description of what a participatory citizen would be. We were able with guidance from our teachers discuss as a group what charity we would like to donate to, what activities we thought the rest of the student body would enjoy during spirit days and gym assemblies. I think the main focus was just making sure we would be law abiding citizens that would help contribute to people in need or help someone in need. I do not remember learning about politics or how governments worked and I do definitely fell undereducated in that area as an adult now. I do not remember the push to get us as students to take active roles in leading initiatives.  

Only teaching at what I would say a “safe” level of teaching (teaching what is comfortable and not rocking the boat on bigger issues) and not pushing us as students to explore and try problem solve world issues like racism, global warming, homelessness, and malnourished children etc. left little to no growth in fighting for changes as an adult. The teacher’s focus was to get us to act and behaviour as good citizens and we did have voices, but not a voice for big change. In the YouTube video What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good starring Joel Westheimer he says “we need to shoot higher than just the basics for our students” that stood out to me. I recently had a tarot card reading, one of the cards that was pulled for me was “spiritual teacher”, and the card reader explained to me that it is not about just learning from books… Once I get how to teach and teach good do not forget, where I come from and what is in my heart and passion for teaching. She reminded me that there is a light in everybody and try look for that light and remember that about my students and about myself as a teacher. This has had me thinking since I had that reading done. As teachers, I think we all want to make a difference not only in the children we are teaching, but also in our society. I think that card was meant to push me and to push my future students to achieve more than just the participatory or personally responsible citizen and aim for more. Dabble into justice-orientated teaching and get my students to be passionate and strong about bigger item issues.

We are stuck in a world that is caught up with how and what media and politics want us to be, we forget we have our own paths to make. We are also living in a westernized society that speaks highly of how we are wanting and willing to make change, but we are not teaching why it is important for that change and reconciliation to occur. The curriculum makers value the good westernized citizen that will follow the rules of how to be a good Canadian. They want us to produce citizens that are active and working member of society, that volunteer their time at special events, and who will not challenge the norm. We need to teach students to become leaders and to challenge what they do not believe is right.

I found this quote and I think it would of been good for last weeks blog post, but I will post it this week so more people potentially see it.

Curriculum Development

What should be learned in schools and who is making the decisions on this? This week we read two articles about curriculum and learning and how it is a complicated system and how Saskatchewan curriculums are out dated and in need of change, but the difficulties that arise from making change come down to some factors. Who will pilot the project? Who should be involved? How effective will the new material be to our students? How to implement going about the changes? and many more questions that will come along the way has affected what is in our curriculum. I used to think curriculum was simple, it was given to use by the government, and we follow what it says, teach it to our students, and get the job done! Some of our curriculum is outdated and has not been changed in years because of the challenges of peoples view points, how history has evolved, and what we now know. In our lecture we talked about the Social Studies curriculum and why it would be a huge obstacle to tackle and revamp. Although, I know that it has to be updated, I understand why it has not been yet and how it will be difficult to develop because of society’s opinions and what has taking place here in Canada is something many people are not willing to talk about.

In the article Curriculum Policy and Politics of What Should Be Learned in Schools, they talk about the two debates that take place while thinking about our curriculum and what politics are involved in the discussions. The first concern, they talk about is what subjects should take place in our education. An example they use is “whether literacy or mathematics are getting a sufficient share of the school day and year, whether sex education or religion should be part of the curriculum, when students should first study a foreign language, or degree to which they should be required to study music or physical education.” The second debate they are concerned with is over what content should be included in the subjects. Many people have their own beliefs of what should be included and what age you should learn about it. Some of the examples they use from their second debate questions are “How much of their own country’s history and geography should students learn as opposed to that of other countries? Should all students learn algebra? Should all students- or any- be required to study Shakespeare?” (Levin p.14). In addition to these areas of curriculum concerns teachers are also expected to teach about non-subject related matters. They teach about bullying, self-care, drugs/drinking abuse, obesity/anorexia and also promoting equality and eliminating racism in their instructions. The teachers are relied on heavily for guiding our youth, but do not have the most say in what is being put into the curriculum for learning. Overall, I don’t think what is in the curriculum is as big as a concern as how much time teachers have to teach what they are expected to teach. The public and government want teachers to help improve our children’s learning, but they are given more on their plate than what they can confidently tackle in a school year. Teachers are not only educators. We are caregivers, social workers, comfort zones, medical supports, etc.

It is concerning the lack of input teachers have in creating the curriculum. They are our front line workers and should be involved in the process of developing content that is necessary for our youth to learn. In the Saskatchewan way article, it was nice to see Saskatchewan have an active role in implementing teacher’s ideas and decisions along with government and experts to enhance student’s learnings and objectives. This statement stuck out to me while reading the article “while teacher involvement was intended to assist in making the new curriculum acceptable to students in the schools, it also had another effect. It allowed teachers to see curriculum as something dynamic and relevant, not an immutable imposition from above. The curriculum committees provided teachers with a mechanism to alter the course studies and gave them some confidence to undertake such changes” (p5). It is important to have freedom to go off course and provide different subject matters that may not be implemented in the curriculum, but what your class of students are curious about or what is important for them to learn in the safe space of your classroom.


Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.

The Saskatchewan Way: Professional-Led Curriculum Development. Available on-line from: https://www.stf.sk.ca/sites/default/files/the_saskatchewan_way_professional_led_curriculum_development.pdf

Be the Teacher you want to be! Grow with your Students!

I believe that we will be able to teach our curriculum in a natural way towards queer and trans people if we leave biases at the door and are open to discussions with our classrooms without placing judgement or making derogatory remarks and comments. On page 29, of the Deepening the Discussion: Gender and Sexual Diversity, that was published by Saskatchewan Ministry of Education (2015) it talks about providing “safe places, supportive spaces, and activist areas.” I believe that those three matters are what can really make a difference in our school systems. I also believe that building relationships with students is a key ingredient to providing safe places, supportive spaces, and encouraging and supporting activist areas and groups to have a voice.

Integrating queerness into curriculum studies means to be challenging the norm. We are living in a day in age where opinions are allowed and heard, but have room for discussion. We can teach in a way that our students are not “robots” and allow them to explore different learning possibilities. As educators, we fill a big role and we wear many different hats in our roles, but providing that community feeling is important to me in my classroom. It will look relaxed, comfortable and cozy I want my students to feel like family when they are in my classroom. It will sound loud and opinionated, but also thoughtful and respectful of others. It will feel safe! I want my students to be able to come to me and know that I will seek out additional supports if I cannot provide them with the answers they are needing.

I think the rule or discourse teachers need to follow is what they believe is right. I know we have guidelines and stipulations to follow, but sometimes it is easier to do things first than ask permission or questions later and seek forgiveness (queering curriculum). I think as long as your intentions were best for your students you should do them. I know this will not apply to every scenario, but follow you gut and your hearts decisions and go with the flow and energy of your classroom. If your students are curious, explore the topics of sexuality/ gender with them.

I really enjoyed our lecture on Tuesday and learned more about sexual identity and gender and queerness than in any other class. Growing up in a rural community those topics were taboo! It was nice to hear from someone that experienced difficulty, but was able to challenge it and feel passionate about it to pursue it in her life now.

The “Good” Student

To be a good student according to “common sense” you must follow and obey what is expected of you. What society, public, or teachers consider the norm for their classrooms. In Kumashiro’s second chapter of his novel, Against Common Sense he talks about, how he became frustrated with students. He assumed that “being a student required behaving and thinking in only certain ways, but also because he felt pressure from schools and society to produce this type of student” (Kumashiro p. 21). The good students were the ones that sat quietly, completed their work on time, did not challenge the teacher, raised their hands when they were asking or answering questions, and participated in activities following the guidelines given by the instructor. The bad students were the ones that challenged ideas, did not sit still, would not listen, and made the school day more difficult for the teacher leaving them feeling frustrated with those types of students.

In A History of Education written by F. V. N. Painter (1886), we learn that teachers were taught to teach students to be good citizens. The educational journey was least important. What was important was “education does not aim to develop a perfect man or women, but prepare its subjects for their place in the established order of things” (Painter p. 9). The students would become functioning adults who would contribute to society they did not care about different needs of students. Although, this text is dated it still plays a role in education. We were raised on the European views on what education and citizenship should look like. We were taught eurocentrism and the importance of it and only it.

The privililedged students would be the students who knew the most knowledge going into these schools. Students who spoke the same language, whose parents were able to give them background knowledge and opportunities (mainly, white students who came from wealthier families), students who the society considered valuable because of their race. Those students were at an advantage because our educational system was racist and one-sided and that was what was being taught. That is what teachers were told would make Canada a better place. That is why historical views played a factor on what were good student in schools.