by Martin Rand III, CNN
(CNN) – Music has often been used to teach kids complicated concepts. Shows like “Schoolhouse Rock” and “Sesame Street” showed that music can help kids digest lessons, whether it’s how a bill makes it through Congress or words that begin with the letter Q.
Now, Columbia University Professor Christopher Emdin is taking that same logic and applying it to high schools in New York City. But rather than Mr. Chips or Elmo leading kids in sing-alongs, enter the Wu-Tang.
Along with Emdin, Wu-Tang member GZA and the founders of the hip-hop lyrics website Rap Genius will announce a program that utilizes hip-hop to teach science in 10 New York City public schools.
“Everything has already been tried,” said Emdin, an assistant professor of science at Columbia’s Teachers College. “We’ve already done a pilot, and it was successful.”
According to Emdin, during the project’s trial period, attendance, interest and graduation rates all rose after hip-hop was introduced into the classroom.
Science has been one of the harder subjects to teach to black and Latino students, who make up 70% of the city’s rolls, according to New York’s Independent Budget Office. The 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress said only 4% of African-American seniors were proficient in sciences, compared with 27% of whites.
All of the schools participating are predominately African-American and/or Latino, Emdin said.
While Emdin and GZA will attend a few schools on a regular basis to check progress, science teachers will learn how to incorporate hip-hop into the lesson plan.
The process is simple, Emdin said. After learning the material, students will have to create rap songs relaying the material back to the teacher. This can be done individually or in groups known as cyphers, where people stand in a circle and take turns rapping.
“A hip-hop cypher is the perfect pedagogical moment, where someone’s at the helm of a conversation, and then one person stops and another picks up,” Emdin said in an interview with The New York Times. “There’s equal turns at talking. When somebody has a great line, the whole audience makes a ‘whoo,’ which is positive reinforcement.
However, this isn’t a place for nursery school rhymes. According to Emdin, GZA says “the rhymes can’t be corny or wack.” Students will have to show that they not only know the curriculum, but also that they can create intelligible rap lyrics out of the material.
Along with other grades for the class, students will be graded on the content, lyrics, storytelling ability, flow and the complexity of their metaphors.
“The teachers will be trained on the cultural hip-hop,” Emdin said. “They’re open to anything that will help the students improve and learn the material.”
However, the project is about more than trying to teach the students science. It’s also about relating to the urban youth’s interests and keeping them engaged.
“It’s already a win-win because we know it works,” Emdin said.
As he explained, it’s not so much about grades increasing but keeping the students in school using a tool “that most of them have used all their lives.”
According to The Times, GZA will look over the students’ raps. The best ones will be posted on the Rap Genius website for the hip-hop community to see.
Rap Genius received a $15 million investment last month by Silicon Valley venture capitalists who want to see the site’s Wiki format applied to other musical genres and historic texts, including “poetry, literature, the Bible, political speeches, legal texts, science papers," a post on Rap Genius states.
The project, which will target grades 9-12, will cover sciences ranging from biology to physics.
According to Emdin, all the boroughs of New York City will be represented with the exception of Staten Island, which is ironic because most of Wu-Tang’s members, including GZA, are from the borough.
GZA, who was born Gary Grice, also goes by the nickname "Genius" because of his deep lyrics and heavy reliance on metaphors. His band mates have referred to him as "a fountain of wisdom," and he was invited to speak at Harvard University's Black Men's Forum last year. He also spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this year.
The official announcement for the program will be next month, and the program will start during the spring semester in January 2013.
The GZA is one of the most prolific and eloquent rap artists to date. If one stops stereotyping and listen to his lyrics on Liquid Swords his intellect is highly and blatantly noticeable. It kills me how so many of the comments come from people who have little or no knowledge of the topic at hand. You see a black rapper and read the words teaching and automatically assume that this is a failure. Why because you may assume that black rappers are uneducated and have nothing to bring to the table. Some of you should keep your racists undertones to yourself or come all the way out the closet and wave your klan flag high. If you wave your klan flag high we might respect you more simply because we know what we are dealing with. On another note...congrats to the GZA and the whole WU. They are actually enlightening students and children, but some of yall dont want that.
The thing I find interesting in the thread of comments here is the distinct difference in underlying assumptions. For example, if there is group that is failing to learn, who needs to change, the teachers or the students? One side condemns the students, and also the teachers for trying to accomodate these "bad" kids. The other side assumes these kids are so disconnected from the successful world that they can't even hear regular teaching.
Scientific M-E-T-H-O-D maaaaaaannn!!
I think this is an awesome idea!! Check out the blog post for more reviews on it, b/c I don't understand why people are opposed?
The challenge of Black students and science is NOT getting students interested in the subject and reciting facts. The real challenge is mathematics. All students respond the hands-on discovery aspects of science exposure. But as soon as mathematics is added to the equation (no pun intended), students immediately lose interest.
Let's see how these methods translate into mathematics literacy and you will see that science achievement will follow.
Very nice site!
Hello! bdbfaea interesting bdbfaea site! I'm really like it! Very, very bdbfaea good!
The wu is coming thru...
..and someday I lern 2+2. Making meth takes chemist's fort-tay, so I need to listen to GZA.
I have a couple questions for ALL of you, please THINK: If you were in the hospital in pain and dying, would you want your doctors to treat your symptoms and ease your pain while you die? OR, Would you endure the pain so the doctors can focus on curing the disease that is causing your pain and killing you? If you answered yes to the first question, then YOU and those that share your beliefs are why the U.S. is in such bad shape...in all aspects. Treat the DISEASE and the symptoms go away. Treat the symptoms and you prolong the inevitable. This article and you people that agree with catering to the "feel good" generation are enabling the apathy and laziness and thus dooming any real chance these kids or future generations might have for competing in a world that has already figured this out. Shame on you all.
So what form of treatment would you suggest to correct the apathy?
I can see your point maybe you can see mine. I am a working black male and I work in IT. I have for the last 25 yrs.
I have several IT related certifications. I ma not a good learner by traditional standards. However everyone tells me I am a good teacher. Often when I do grasp the concept I say " Well why did they not just say bla bla bla. Instead of ble, ble ble.
What I have learned over the years is that some people are " Concrete thinkers and others are abstract thinkers.
My wife is way smarter then me. Yet when our daughter needs help with certain books she will say " go ask your father" I am way better at abstraction and abstract concepts. If you tell me what is to be done it will not register unless I know why it is i am doing it that way and why another way is not the correct way. Then it sticks.
In my view this has to do with community culture. It has nothing to do with diminished capacity. Overall methods of teaching in general need to be reviewed. So at the end of the day, what ever works.
Sounds unconventional, but I admit interesting! Anything to help youth learn and achieve works for me. Good luck!
Lil wayne and that crowd will never reach this level of respect. Thank god for these guys for working to help young people.
This is a great idea. It's disgusting to, once again, see haters post about this way of teaching, yet offer no alternative solution at all to improve education for under-privileged youth. Congratulations that you were lucky enough to be born into a place where education is better than blighted, and had opportunities others can only dream of. For everyone else, let them have their methods of teaching that work, and will open up minds and give hope for a future. It's not dumbing down. They are trying to inspire and encourage. Just because it doesn't relate to your easy upbringing, doesn't make it meaningless to others.
Reading through the majority of comments pertaining to this article has destroyed yet another sliver of my hope for American society. If you cannot look past the fact that they have found something useful to get children interested in subjects that most kids don't like, then you are part of the reason American education is a joke. The method may be abstract, but if it interests the child how can it be a bad thing? To say that none of the children who learn through this technique will never be scientists is just closeminded and insulting. Who's to say this way of teaching might not lead to more scientists in the coming generations? If the kids aren't interested it doesn't matter what or how you teach, they will not learn.
If *you* can't see that this is the perfect illustration of the dumbing down of American education that has been going on for 40+ years in an insane, quixotic pursuit of equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity, then YOU'RE part of the problem.
Can't get a dumber than George W
17 trillion dollars in debt and each generation dumber than the previous. Bail while you still can.
Turns out he was right,
C is the speed of light.
Square it times the mass, G
now that's a lot of heat as energy!
Yeah, that will get you into Columbia. Come up with a few more childish rimes and you gots a shot at becoming Emdin's asst. professor.
if you can use remember those rhymes youd be abel to get questions on tests right so yeah it could get you into columbia
Who would have known that CNN was full of such immature readers? You people need to get off your high horse because the way you're acting makes you no better than your average high school drop out that you seem to enjoy insulting. If someone has found a way to appeal to a particular demographic which has all but lost their motivation to learn real world material then what do you care? Most of these kids don't care about school because it's not your average school. These schools have metal detectors to prevent weapons from being taken inside. In schools like these kids need to learn certain skills of survival and one of those skills is blending in. If stealing or skipping class or smoking weed is blending in then these kids might have a better day, a better year. Every kid wants to be liked. So if hip-hop can be used for a greater good like educating a lost demographic in a curriculum that they are having an extremely rough time latching on to than who are you to bash it? What makes you any better than them? Obviously you need to grow up and learn that in life nothing is just black & white.
OH SCHANP YO!!! FOR REALZ??? WHAT'S NEXT REDMAN TEACHING 11 YEAR OLDS HOW TO ROLL A BLUNT?
Deys alredies noze howz ta do dat, ya white mofo.
Proof positive that the lunatics are running the asylum. Of course, if you lower the bar far enough, EVERYONE will be a scientist. What stupidity.
The reason inner-city blacks and latinos have difficulties with science is because they tend to lack prerequisites such as mathematics. If you can't add, you certainly won't be able to learn science. What happens when they get to college? Special ed classes in Rap so that they can learn Calculus? What a joke.
I don't see what the problem here is? The students have to show comprehension and a context for understanding the lyrics of the science that they are writing. I don't see it any differently than the transformation of when foreign language/math was taught by rote instruction versus in a context of conversation and real life problems. Put it in a valid context and yes, that will work. If it works, why in the world do you care HOW? Traditional instruction is obviously not working.
You know what's really crazy? People are paying a fortune to go to Columbia and listen to this clown's BS.
This is such a great idea! What I don't understand is why so many persist in saying there is only one way to learn science – and that it is through rote memorization. That is patently false, and providing an alternative way to make science accessible to students should be commended.
this is freakin awesome lmao hellz yeah tell me about science GZA... but dont tell me. RAP it!! ;-)
4% seniors proficient in science and a 'rapper' is a possible solution? Wow, I guess it's over now. If the rapper loves science so much, he would be a scientist not a rapper. Even your fans aren't that stupid. Do as I say, not as I do.
So if the seniors don't want to roll up their sleeves to help the youth learn, then why complain about someone else is taking a step forward to help educate the kids. Dont you know that generations change with time? Maybe while you was in high school, you probably had seniors teaching. This generation relies on technology, social media and music to get across what they are saying.
the kids are fighting and fussing, righting and cussing/
day dreaming about lyrics we probably wish they wasn't/
thinking how that song they heard last night was something/
yet they didnt learn anything but how to amount to nothing/
so let's step on the stage kicking some true adages/
in the ways they listen and catch attention of all the ages/
let them find out how to really dream and give praises/
to more than the mainstream which seems so wasted....
There are idiots with money out there willing to invest $15 million bucks into this crap? 30 years ago this would have been considered the ramblings of an illiterate.
I think they stole the idea from Bill Cosby. Theo and his friend learned Shakespeare by creating a rap song.
This is just like studytunes.org with less subjects. Teachers have been using it for months already.
You can hypnotize whatever iZombies to appreciate style,
But cannot force them to think.
They need to bring back the old school 'rap' to improve the desire to learn.
A teacher took you into the hallway, had a big piece of wood with a handle in his hand( it was called a paddle), and 'rapped' your a$$.
It was an incredibly motivating teaching tool.
Would you want to get hit for not understanding or remembering what your boss tells you? Violence and negative reinforcement isn't conducive to learning – brainwashing yes, not learning.
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what is wrong with this country. Give it another 10 years and everyone will get a high school diploma when they're born... because it's just darn unfair to make them spend 12 years earning it.
Nowadays, drugs improve obedience.
The question I have is the actually effectiveness in retention and application. Is it wrote memorization or conceptual literacy? If the names, definitions, reactions and or results are actually used in proper rhyme and metaphor then the one writing the "rap" would demonstrate competence. If it is simply throwing large words into a disjointed rant. Then it would be nothing more that an entire school talking like a SNL/ In Living Color Skit
You are exactly right Rob. I am the Physics teacher at Spotsylvania High School in Va. This "methodology" can be fun and part of the mix BUT...given an angular velocity of 1rad/s and a radius of one meter find the centripetal accel. What? Dont have a rap for that? Get out your calculator and solve for it like a real student.
Very good post Rob, and I agree.
But, it's rote memorization, not wrote.
Also, actually should not precede effectiveness in your sentence. It should be actual.
Can rap help with grammer??
Hit the wrong key.
Should be grammar, not grammer.
Can rap improve typing skills??
Good save, Jim! I's about to hit you up on "grammEr". Maybe that should be spelled grammERR?
Isn't that part of the article though? that students have to demonstrate comprehension as well as the ability to work in groups, present in front of a group and find an alternative way to explain something? I don't see what the problem is here. If something isn't working, try something else!
"The 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress said only 4% of African-American seniors were proficient in sciences, compared with 27% of whites."
BOTH of those numbers are sad, scary, and disgraceful.
What's sadder is what they qualify as "proficient."
It's just 'the Man' keeping a brutha down... dontcha know?
man if guru was still alive i bet he would have been at the fore front of something like this
..."As he explained, it’s not so much about grades increasing but keeping the students in school using a tool “that most of them have used all their lives.”
Everyone has missed this very powerful point. They don't even care if it will help the kids as long as it gets them to school so they can continue receiving federal funding. This is just an attempt to cater to the "entertain me" generation instead of making them work their butts of for their grades and future. There is no value in applying oneself in today's generation. ...no sense of accomplishment, only apathy. Sad.
So innovation in the classroom is "sad"? You realize the alternative to expanding our educational resources is leaving these students to drop out. These people are using thoughtful and creative ways to reach out to these students while traditionalists are attempting to "make them work their butts off" which is distancing kids from education and contributing to the failure of our educational system. Not every student has an incentive or desire to excel in school, and keeping kids from dropping out is a perfectly reasonable goal when the dropout rate is so high. Obviously the best-case scenario would have these kids receiving straight As and this program will likely see an improvement in grades but complaining that the bar is set too low is not helping anyone.
It doesn't matter how low the bar is when there is no desire to reach it in the first place. Does that start at school? No it does not.
Listen to TRASH TALK and ODD FUTURE WOLF GANG KILL THEM ALL everything I know I learned from them
Kids going these days indigo, and they speak different lingo, so why professors in bow ties, should sit with hands tied, this world getting faster, gone the days simpler and why not Wu-tang write articles on new found God particles
Good god. Anybody see the movie IDIOCRACY?
It did not take 5 centuries for it to happen, it is here now...
So...we are going to have our kids learning about science.....from petty criminals and anti-intellectuals who probably cannot even spell the word "science"?
be open minded... as your name suggests
I don't understand how people can be so closed minded about this. Very simply, using music to teach is a proven method. Calling all rappers uneducated criminals sounds a lot like thinly veiled racism to me. Many rappers are fairly intelligent, write their own material, and are activists. Sure some of their songs may contain questionable lyrics, but songs have always had questionable lyrics. Eric Clapton sang about cocaine (and it gets wide play on adult easy listening stations).
Let us be happy that a prominent member of the hip-hop community that is already influencing the youth of today, is trying to use his stature to help educate students. I fear most complainers here simply are sounding off against something they don't understand–rap music. Fifty years ago people thought rock and roll was poisoning the younger generation's minds. This is not so different. Hip-Hop music is here, some of it is questionable, much of it is misunderstood, but it is here like it or not. Using it to the benefit of society is not only the right move, it's a smart one.
If you need to have your school lessons recited to you by a "gangsta rapper"– chances are, you are probably not destined to win the Nobel Prize in this lifetime or the next.
That's a pretty ignorant statement, considering the GZA is an extremely talented lyricist and performer who promotes positive messages. Clearly you have no idea who he is so you should put in a little research before you jump to conclusions. Not only is he more than capable of spelling, he's a hell of a lot smarter than me or (especially) you. Also why the hell do you keep replying to your own post?
If schoolhouse rock worked. (I still remember conjunction junction whats your function) then why not rap. If it gets kids interested in school again I'm all for it.
School of rock is OK, School house rock was OK, but using music to teach science, that;s crazy talk, kids don't learn from singing and rythm..well maybe just their alphabets, and counting by 5.and 2, and history of columbus discovering america,etc. This is further proof that sesame street and all of its singing puppets have been a waste of goverment spending. Just like school house rock..and its 37 years of merchandise sales including CD's and DVD's.
You obviously didn't learn much in school. Maybe you should learn to spell before you voice your opinion about others.
Hey c'mon now, that's not fair... what about that guy you used to hang out with, what's his name, Ja Rule. He seemed pretty educated. It's murdaaaaaaaaa.
that's absolutely ignorant to say because when learning about history, science etc. in a rhythmic way it makes the topics more interesting and easier to follow. you've clearly never taken the time out to listen to intelligent hip hop that involved in depth story telling or scientific and historical facts. i suggest you listen to some before you say it won't help people learn..
Intelligent hip-hop? Isn't that an oxymoron?
In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Yup still works
I am willing to bet the folks who are against this either do not know that American students are behind their counterparts in other democratic/developed nations, or they just do not care.
To me, this is an awesome idea as innovation in the classroom is needed. Should we keep doing things "the way they have always been done" we will find ourselves in a losing battle.
It's the modern School House Rocks.
"...a program that utilizes hip-hop to teach science in 10 New York City public schools..." – O M G...
Will work for some, and drive others (those who hate performing, etc) away. As always a variety of methods is better.
Music is a way to present material in a different way, engaging different parts of the brain. According to Howard Gardiner, there are seven intelligences. Everyone has one or two as strengths. We do not all learn in the same way. way and it behooves everyone to realize that. If you present the subject using as many of those intelligences as possible, more kids will "get it." Rap is a valuable tool for the oones who tune out to other methods.
Hahahaha wow America's future is only getting brighter. Forget hard work and studying. Just rap it.
This is probably going to contribute to the lowering of scientific progress in the US. It seems that the only purpose of this program is to make sure that african american students pass their grade with basic science skills. Imagine a graduate of this program trying to get a PhD with this approach. The university will simply laugh at them. Maybe some one on one tutorage could help these students perform to actual standards
Schools have given up. It is now assumed that African American kids will not become professionals. Just get them graduated, or at least enough graduated so you can keep funding.
Their parents don't care, so why should the school?
Might work for elementary age kids. Get them interested in the topic while they're young, and maybe they'll have more desire to learn science the traditional way by high school. A huge chunk of the problem isn't lack of ability to learn, it's lack of desire.
Back in the late 80's and early 90's I experimented with singing and rhyme to teach high school chemistry and physics. I had contests in the gifted classes (still have the video tapes – should convert them to DVD) where students wrote and sang songs, usually to familiar tunes like: "Oh Lord it's hard to be reactive, when you're Noble in every way" (Noble gases do not react except under extreme conditions).
Several mnemonic devices are also common in chemistry: Students will remember that H2SO4 is Sulfuric Acid better if they know; "Little Sammy Student, is lying on the floor. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4." Or even sayings like "LEO says 'GER' " (Lose Electrons = Oxidation, Gain Electrons = Reduction).
Unfortunately, such experimenting for me came to an end when No Child Left Behind came in the 2000's and teachers were required in many systems, including my own, to teach from specific lesson plans. They did that because the school systems could not otherwise do the ridiculous things required by No Child, like put Special Ed kids in upper-level academic classes, unless they dumbed-down the standards.
And that's why 90% of teachers in my high school, including me, have retired in the 2000's and the school no longer has it's International Baccalaureate program because we qualified teachers gave up trying to maintain the standards our top students deserve.
I think that using music to better educate children might help. If someone can come up with a catchy tune to help me remember the difference between the endoplasmic reticulum and the nucleus of a cell, let them! If music can raise the percentage of Latino and African-American students that are proficient in science, who are we to hold them back from doing so?
nice article. It was interesting.
Being a student i think this would be really fun to do for science.. I am horrible at science and haaving to memorize vocabwords and phrases i am not good at, but i can memorize all the lyrics to a song in about 1 hour.. i think this would be a very efficent way to learn topics.
Have fun working the drive thru at Burger King, Lily
Right, thanks for reminding me that high school is nothing but time consuming job training. For a second there I thought it was supposed to be a time of academia, where students actually learn from diverse schools of thought and come out with knowledge pertaining to the things they want to know. It's a good thing you're setting everyone straight, we wouldn't want these kids coming out as anything but robots, would we?
Lily, so why don't you try using song to memorize things yourself rather than wait for some magic to happen? Education is all about personal responsibility (which is something lacking in these inner-city schools)... YOU are responsible for learning. All your teacher can do is point you in the right direction.
This is a good concept, considering that the students will really need to think about what they learned or heard to know exactly what to say, do, or write. Do think about how although it may be a good idea, you should also allow the students to use the kind of school-appropriate music genres to sing, instead of just using hip-hop or rap, because it may be true that they dislike those genres of music, or do not hear them very often. You should also think that maybe the students aren't very good lyricists, or may be shy in front of other people. In that case, have them write a paper or a poem read by someone else, the latter being only for if the child has a shyness issue. Please take this into consideration as you move forward into your program, thank you.
I think this is an awesome idea! Its a great way of education. I think this will get sudents intersested in science. If this form of education works then it should be in every school.
I think that this guy would be a good teacher. If he has been doing like Seasame street, and stuff then his classes would be fun. He could like come up with songs to teach to the class so they can study for a test.
I have been using this concept for almost 5 years across all Language Arts and Reading strands. The kids love it and they write their own raps and then actually REMEMBER what they learned. I still teach basic grammar, writing etc. but we try to have a little fun too. When I want my students to learn about similes I ask them to find song lyrics that have them and then we find them in Shakespeare etc. Start where their interest is and then branch out. Education is about reaching your audience, grabbing their attention and then teaching them more things to be interested in. . . who cares how you hook them as long as they're hooked on gaining more knowledge!
Hi Tonya W.
Reading comprehension... take a course... Sorry, they currently don't have rap classes for that.
"R to the 'eading', comp-ry to the 'hension', is something that schools teach, so that you can learn a lession"
GZA can that go on your website? I didn't know GZA can do webpage design? Does he rap what he wants, and the graphics display harmoniously? Hooray Apple, you think of everything... so that GZA and his fan base do not need to...
A revolution in teaching, hat off to you!
"Children are the future...and Wu Tang is for the babies"- Method Man
How cool is this! Out of the box creative problem solving. Love it!
Yay! i'll learn how to make an incision in a banana!
Sign me up for Cannibal Corpse's spring term of Differential Algebraic Topology.
If only Eazy-E were still around to "teach"!
Yeah, let's bring back Eazy-E to teach contraception and STDs...Oh, wait, nm.
The idea is to meet these kids where they are and to grow them from there. To think that they are dumbing down science is silly...science remains the same rather you speak it, rap it, or sing it. There are many disadvantaged kids who need ways to solidify the information in their heads in a language that they can understand and retain. They may not have parents who quiz them nightly on the periodic chart but once a periodic chart rap is peformed it can be recorded, replayed and memorized.
This is exactly like School House Rock...I guess if you associate things with caucasians it's OK, but to relate it to african/latino culture is wrong and racist. Fortunately it's not about you, it's about the kids that need help understanding STEM subjects.
And that is why School House Rock is still on the air.... oh wait... Anyone?
Check the cartoon networks and YouTube (they are still out there)...not to mention, I have them on DVD because I think they are so cute!
I suggest you invest in some Xanax and a grammar course. What these children are learning is not about you, but their ability to understand and retain the lessons being put before them. If professors from Columbia's Teachers College can get down with it, you've got to know that no one really cares a fig what you think.
Well said. If it works, why not use whatever method necessary to better instruct kids in these subject areas. Wish something like this existed sooner.
can't argue with that. well said.
Epic fail. Let's not dumb science down any further for these clowns. Real scientists speak properly. That alone will doom this.
Congratulations on being a racist. Is it as fun of a lifestyle as you make it look?
Aren't you the racist for assuming that he is referring to race? Or that only certain races listen to hip hop? Or that only certain races live where this is being used?
Exactly right CW.
I am a scientist and grew up on old school hip hop. Ice cube, BDP etc.. but it was SCIENCE and scientists that influenced me not musicians' and artists' personal 'side hobbies'. You don't need these games to influence you, the field itself is its own reward. You just have to respect it and give it its proper focus.
Sure, try it, why not. 27% is still atrocious. The music shouldn't be required as some kids might not be into it, might be useful for the entry level sciences to get kids into it.. sort of a science primer. Still, I didn't need heavy metal integrated with my science to get me to understand it in high school, I just liked it because it intrigued me. Three words though: Neil. DeGrasse. Tyson. How about him as a role model?
Chemistry is never complete without heavy metals. Just sayin' . . .
it's to know it works and it will improve performance .. that said, if kids needs hip hop or any other kind of music to learn science, I can tell you already one thing .. they won't become Nobel price winners ..
Music education in schools is proven to help children with STEM subjects. Do you think rap is any different? Not all rap is thug-speak. I have a child who plays the upright bass in orchestra and raps as well. He can make a rhyme from anything from Shakespeare to the Periodic Chart...and you bet your butt that I let him. His Science and Algebra teachers think the world of him.
Go teach him basketball, your making all his peers look bad.
He actually prefers Rugby...is that ethnic enough for you?
Yes. Agressive, spur of the moment, running, very little padding for a brain injury prone future. Armed robbers seem to have similiar characteristics... hmmmmm
It mostly stems from being of Samoan decent and being raised overseas in England and Germany – where the sport is quite popular. Bringing my sons back to the US to be welcomed by common, bottom-feeding, race-baiters has been almost comical. They are learning a lot, but mostly they have learned to be graceful while under fire.
"Bringing my sons back to the US to be welcomed by common, bottom-feeding, race-baiters has been almost comical" I didn't refer to a race. Nice job. Whose the Race-baiter now? Thats comical.
Now, now...don't get all sensitive about who you are. Embrace it.
I don't think rap or any music makes a difference.
The point ids not what kind of music ,,, the point is that the kids need music .. what is that? Can't focus for 45 min on a math subject? If you can do that only at music pace, it means you are not paying attention to the math anyway..
this does nothing but lowering the bar.
Of course if such kids wouldn't learn math but by doing rap music .. well yeah sure, better than nothing, but trust me, it means the kind of math those kids are learning isn't going to get them into a college, unless it's a scam like there are many these days
Wow you can't even spell prize* correctly. I can see someone is bitter.
bitter? for what? what's your problem Adam .. ?
Seriously? Why don't you just relate science (and all other "hard subjects") to drugs, Hoookers, smuggling, and profits. Then everyone can get graded by how much profit they beat out Mexico drug-dealers, and New York to Las Vegas mafias. Can I be a Public School Representative?
google "economic rap"
Watch the first video: Fear the Boom and Bust a Hayek vs. Keynes
Watch the second video: Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two
Sorry but those two videos have taught more ordinary people about economics than ANYTHING a bunch of old stuffed shirts could ever come up with!
You proved nothing. Congratulations. You must be a student of GZA which stands for "GorillaZ Anyone?"
Wow you must be amazing to be able to watch two 10 minute videos and reply back in less than 5 minutes!
Do you always comment on things that you have NEVER seen?
econstories dot tv is a GREAT website for explaining economics in a way that both educates and entertains, and is a win win for all.
But closed minded childish name caller like yourself would never get it!
By the way my highest level of math education is Laplace Transforms, can you say the same?
Not really, but thanks for trying.
And I am a Rocket Scientist, which is why I spend all my time arguing on blogs, instead of rocketing scientifically. Go Go Transformer! Turn into a somebody already.
Gotta love the internet. You can furnish your Educational Background without actual proof (or care from readers). Reliabilty :)
WikaWow – Check out The Wire Season 4. One of the teachers uses drug terminology to teach math. This is not a new concept.
You seriously need some p*ssy. Probably mad because a Black man stole the only chance of getting laid you ever had...smh (Yes you WikaWow!!)
I bomb atomically. Socrates philosophies and hypothesies can't define how be dropping these mockeries.
That line is from Inspectah Deck son. Get with it.
? It is from a wu tang song and namechecks science. get with it
If you don't believe that this rap teaching method is effective, google "economic rap" and watch!
h t t p : / / w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m / e m b e d / d 0 n E R T F o – S k
Wu-tang or Republican, whom do you wish to teach you science?
Neither. And I don't want a Democrat point of view either.
Thats hilarious! I think i would have to say the Wu-Tang Clan has a better grip on reality.
Dave Chappelle must be loving this. . . First, Wu Tang Financial now Wu Tang Labs!
Sorry, and if I can't stand rap or hip-hop can I still learn science the way it was taught for a thousands of years?
"for a thounsands" singular and plural all in one...looks like those ways weren't quite working...1 point for hip hop lol
Yep, and if we were using math, the true language of science, to communicate instead of archaic english we wouldn't have this problem.
There are no articles to worry about in math. How much simpler can you get? Hip-hop is not the way to go.
Wu Tang Clan ain't nothing to F... with.
Indeed. GZA is a great choice. There are also other Legends in hip hop that can teach. Such as KRS-One, Rakim, Bambatta, Chuck D, LL, Paris, Common, Talib Kwali, etc...
Because he's droppin science, droppin history
With a whole leap of style and intelligency
Yes, I know.
I know because of KRS-ONE
Yeah, and I know
I know because of KRS-ONE
Thats where I always go when i hear anything about KRS lol
I'm an engineer and have worked in science curriculum development (K-12) for several years. One of the most effective ways of getting kids interested in science is to start with what they love. For example, if a student loves to cook, you have a natural gateway into chemistry since so much of cooking and baking is chemistry. Cooking is also good for discussing energy transfer in physics. If a student is big on sports, physics experiments with balls, running, and skateboards are a natural place to start. I applaud these efforts to use music as an entree into the sciences.
When some people look at this they will simply see it as a way for blacks and latinos to "get a break". No one complains about School House Rock dumbing down conjunctions or multiplication. You take something a child can relate to (hip hop/rap) and apply it to their education and you get progress. I cannot see how these people find fault in meeting a desperate need. Science in any form does not change Science, whether, it is sung, rapped, or spoken – science is science.
Yes. Lets continue the idea that kids must be entertained in all aspects of their lives. We had Schoolhouse Rock, Sesame Street and everything else. What happens when they get to higher education or work and aren't entertained anymore? Look at our educational level, it's where it was 20 years ago. The reason kids aren't learning science is ineffective teachers who treat it as a lecture course instead of a lab course. To learn science, it has to be hands on!
When they get to higher education they don't expect entertainment anymore (apart from getting to use bunsen burners) but having the basics as well as heightened interest they won't fall behind when it gets more challenging. Why do you need to act so superior with your super general assumption?
Wu Tang is for the children. We teach the children.
How is the lowering of moral standards strengthening this countries educational standards? Truth is that most of these kids don't care about their education and their "parents"(I use the term lightly) care even less. Sure the kids might learn science from catering to their fantasy world, but in the meantime that which is helping to educate them in science will help to further destroy their spelling and grammar. Haven't heard a smart rapper yet that can express his or herself intelligently. The short of it I suppose is that the weak parenting and lowered or nonexistent standards set for these kids by their parents(partly because the parents have none for themselves), are playing a major role in the dumbing down of our society. It is education itself that should be glorified NOT the lowered standards by which educators hope to deliver it.
You obviously haven't listened to much rap.
Develop an argument.
I am curious which rappers yu have listened to that dont know how to speak the kings english and or express themselves intellegently? Maybe you should google Charlie Rose's interview with Jay Z... Charlie Rose has interviewed Jay – Z twice. In order to speak on something you have to know what you are talking about. And your post reads like your havent got a clue... Most rappers who are successful are quite brillant, becasue they do make something out of nothing. Clearly you dont understand the lyrics becasue they are not spoken in the kings english which I imagine you are more comfortable using.
As far latino and black parents not being true "parents" to their children... I take complete and utter offense to that comment. My mother raised three black girls as a single parent and I raised my son as a single parent. I am a nurse, mys eldest sister works as an admistrator for Bank of American, my middle sister is a carpenter...and my son is a future NYFD (fire fighter). I raised my son on RAP, ROCK, R&B teaching science through Rap music is no difference than teaching the varied days of the month using the rhyme "30 days has september, april, June and November. All the Rest of 31, except Febuary..."
OPEN YOUR MIND TO THE POSSIBLITIES!! Good looking out GZA and Columbia!!!
Please excuse my spelling errors in my previous post...hope you get the point though :D
@ ohctshirts: I couldn't have written that any better.
@I is smrt yo b!$@hes!: Just because you cannot relate to another persons' life experience or upbringing should not automatically give you the rights to confine their methods into your own pre-defined "level of intelligence" box.
try writing a single rap verse and see how much effort and work it requires. (and I am not the biggest fan of rap).
Dear ohctshirts, as taken from your response, you are clearly not part of the demographic I was speaking of. Kudos to you and your family for having drive, ambition, and the will to succeed. This country needs more of that! Why you take offense to my comment I am not sure. As for the "kings English" as you put it, it happens to be the language of the modern educated world. Hence my comment on the destruction of our children's ability to articulate intelligently as we'll as most rappers ability to speak in plain English. Yes, there may be a few exceptions, as there typically are in any debate, but how many rappers have used education as a vehicle to better themselves as opposed to their "music"? I use music in quotes for the simple fact that how we view music is as distorted in our generation as is the importance of education. Most of the people on here miss the point completely... Inductive and deductive reasoning are skills our society does not value any more. Might as well teach Chinese as our primary language. Maybe someone can teach that with rap...
One person above already mentioned rappers like Talib-Kwali, Mos-Def, Chuck D, NAS, and KRS-One. Who choose to educate more on society then they do on science. Think of their songs as more as opp-ed peices during speaking on the times they were released then song. But if you are looking for a rapper who is discusses more scientific things, tyr Deltron, his album is Deltron 3000 broke new ground in hip-hop. But I have a feeling that just because the words sometimes rhyme and go to a beat you already deam it as primative and beyond any redeaming value.
Then you've obviously never listened to the GZA or you are too ignorant to comprehend his metaphors.
People will say that is a waste of time or that it is " dumbing" down the learning process... but to that I say "you need to go back and learn a little bit more if your own history."
I'm not speaking recent history but that makes it no less true or less effective as a teaching tool. Almost all cultures owe much if their own histories and culture to having been handed down word-of-mouth in part through song. Before the Interwebz and books or even the written word, there were oral histories & traditions. It works. It helped us all get where we are today. Oh right... people stopped learning about history and replaced it with blind cynicism.
I think this is a welcome return of something from our common historical roots that works. I think it's great.
It's about time the education system embraced new methods for teaching. As a fan of learning & knowledge (and Wu-Tang/GZA), I applaud these new ideas. Mnemonics are the future of education...embrace them!
If it gets kids to learn. Do it. DO IT BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
" The 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress said only 4% of African-American seniors were proficient in sciences, compared with 27% of whites."
You want to know what's "wrong with this country?" THIS is what's wrong with our country. Yes, 4% of blacks is a horrific tragedy...but if the bar is set at 27%? Essentially three-quarters of our kids graduate high school without understanding science...which is to say, without an understanding of reality. This is why we have so many morons throughout the country trying to make policy based on religion, denying climate change, making stupid comments about abortion, so on and so forth.
You want a better country? Educate our children. 27% doesn't cut it...even if that 27% were all certifiable geniuses, the other 73% so far outweigh them that progress will never be made.
Too many lawyers not enough scientist.
I think its a great idea if it helps the students learn
I would like to offer a special rate at my recording studio (45a W.Sunrise Highway Freeport NY) for any student involved in this program. I think it is a great idea.
the world will not dumb-down, because we do. the future belongs to the asians. accept that fact, then go forward. then, we might have a future. but i wouldn't bet on it:/
I guess successful graduates will be making the annual report to the board of the companies they are working for in rap. How are we preparing our kids for real life?
First teach them how to learn at all. Then teach them how to use that knowledge properly. This creates a bridge between worlds they don't understand and worlds they do.
How incredibly racist! Just because NY's public school system is mostly minorities, you automatically turn to hip-hop? What if the student isn't a good lyricist? What if they are too shy to rap in front of ppl? What about the population in those schools that don't care for rap. If a school mostly white that was 30% minority, everyone would be in an outrage if everyone was forced to turn their lessons into country songs. This is stereotypical. Way to perpetuate it.
It's about finding a medium that is easily digested and as for being racist, I find it the complete opposite – wouldn't it be racist if they didn't make it eaiser?
How about just teaching without rap (or country) music? I know it is tough.
Class can I have your attention. OUTKAST is here to show us how to skew it on the barbie!
Unless they can teach the kids how to successfully sells records or crack I don't think this is a good idea. I am a big fan of the WU and have caught them live several times (once with the ODB) but is this the best we can do for black role-models? Does this mean Master P will be in New Orleans schools next year?
First of all you assume to use a stereotype as a basis for your argument and secondly this is another form to learn the information given. Its similar to you reciting the text and giving a verbal report to the teacher. It is applicable to the target market, which in these areas are very interested in this form of music. And if the teachers are willing to teach in this way, which is very clear they are then; I think thats a strong indicator that it might prove to be successful.
To Jim and Mike_T, why are we not allowed to use hip hop icons to explore science and math? Teachers use relatable characters to entice students all the time. You have to first spark interest, and teach the students not just AT them. I'm a young black lady, that grew up in the suburbs. Super Saditty. My siblings and I are very different.Whereas they flourished academically when we lived in an urban setting and the teachers presented the material in a matter that they could relate better too. Don't knock it, if done accordingly it can work. Nobody said these students are learning WuTang lyrics, they are being intriqued by the different facets of culture in the areas of science and math.
This is a wonderful idea! Hip-hop is a powerful artistic and cultural force with the potential to transform the way we learn. I am hopeful that the New York program will be met with success. I'd also like to share how my husband and his fellow h.s. math colleague used hip hop to teach the Pythagorean Theorem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbopLhP4kpo . Enjoy!
First of all you assume to use a stereotype as a basis for your argument and secondly this is another form to learn the information given. Its similar to you reciting the text and giving a verbal report to the teacher. It is applicable to the target market, which in these areas are very interested in this form of music. And if the teachers are willing to teach in this way, which is very clear they are then; I think thats a strong indicator that it might prove to be successful.
SOrry this was mean @jim i posted in the wrong section
Yes, but many years ago the Animaniacs used music and rhyme to teach state capitals, countries of the world, and astrophysics.
I'm all for any teaching method that gets students interested in important subject matter. If music is truly effective in engaging individuals, then we need more of it. Let's try this method, then analyze the results to see if learning gains occur. If not, then try something new. We must always be open to novel ideas.
James Mulhern, http://www.synthesizingeducation.net
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Wu-Tang was one of the first rap group I started listening to when it was new to me. Surely one of the most underrated groups of all time, and if you take some of them individually, like GZA, they are also highly underrated. I'm glad they're doing something to help kids out. Great idea. Instead of trying for decades and failing to get kids to conform to the teaching methods, let the teaching methods conform to the students. Best of luck, I really hope it works. NYC public schools (of which I am a proud alum) have some SERIOUS untapped talent. It's a pool of resources just waiting to be tapped...hopefully this leads to great things. Well done GZA.
One, I am black. Two, I have always been a fan of Rap/Hip Hop, but I really wish this was not necessary. I am glad that it has raised awareness and graduation rates, but I am saddened that the black population continuously needs these types of tools. This is 2012, not 1812. When is the fact going to be driven home that studying, paying attention in school, asking questions, getting a tutor, study groups, taking the time on the weekends to reinforce the class subject matter etc., is the key? Science is not a whites only subject. As Black people, we need to start considering ourselves as having equal brains that should not require hip hop to learn. We cannot keep softening methods to help us become smarter. The real problem is the culture. White people as a majority have it in them to realize that education is key. Young black people as a majority seem to disregard education as uncool, yet do not realize the future consequences of their actions. Which is amazing, considering that this, (I'll say it again) 2012. The history is there for everyone to see how important education is. If little Susie from the suburbs can get an A without hip hop, then so can little Marquis from the inner city. Turn off the Cellphone, TV and music when doing homework and FOCUS.
Mike, what's the harm here? Instead of having the students conform to outdated and uninspiring teaching methods, we should adapt to the students, and let the students drive the teaching methods. If we follow your logic to the obvious conclusion, we shouldn't utilize technology in the classroom either (things like iPads and such). To the contrary, schools across the country are beginning to use this technology, not only b/c it helps with learning, but b/c the students are really adept at USING the technology, so why not use it to teach them? This program is really no different. They are using something that the kids know well and relate to, what's the harm, I ask...
You do have a good point, teaching methods do need to adapt with the times. But this is also to a certain degree. Think about it, now im not sure how old you are, but when you were growing up in school did you need these things to learn and pay attention in school? I am 25, and I can tell you that kids have it easier with technology at there finger tips and while that is changing for the better, teaching methods that I grew up with should stay the same. I always looked at it as to better myself and achieve above average grades. I dont see how its hard to run with this concept.
You totally miss my point and I think you are missing the point from the teaching methods referred to in the article. This teaching method is not a wide-scale method being applied to all students, just minorities , mainly Black and Hispanic students. Myself being black, I am offended that black students that this Wu-Tang method targets has to keep needing ways to help them learn. I ask you, if we teach science with hip/hop, how will the student actually apply what they have learned on a real job? If they have to speak or write some scientific report, will it be in verse? I don't think so. There is a stigma on black people that we cannot learn like the white man, we cannot do the job better than the white man, that we need affirmative action to get jobs etc. Things like hip/hop science does not help that stigma. Black kids need to cut the nonsense out. Pick up a book, read it, reread it, study it, ask questions and learn the normal way. Other black student have done it, so there is no excuse here to need hiphop in the classroom to learn science. If it helps them fine, but don't think for one second that this is going to lessen the stigmas as minorities in the REAL WORLD.
You bring up great points and I agree with you 100%, but c'mon I know deep down you would love to have a class taught by one of the Wu Tang!
'Science is not a whites only subject'. Thank you. This is all that needs to be said. Give these kids the same opportunities as wealthier kids and they won't need rap to learn.
I'm proud to see inspired people step it up for children. Good Luck
"Wu-Tang is for the children! We teach the children!" (ODB @ Grammys)
Reblogged this on Carlos Chino and commented:
Add your thoughts here... (optional)
Socrates philosophies and hypotheses...and Einstein's too!
"I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies
and hypothesis can't define how I be droppin these
mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery
Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me
Battle-scarred shogun, explosion when my pen hits (!)
tremendous, ultra-violet shine blind forensics"
-Inspectah Deck of The Wu-Tang Clan
Wow, you just can't keep the ghetto/criminal out of your lyrics. I applaud the idea of helping keep kids interested and motivated to learn but if kids' lyrics are going to be framed in Ebonics and include elements of criminality, my interest has just left the building. Before an understanding of science can be achieved, our citizens must first have command of the English language and they must not think ghetto life is ok/to be emulated.
language. Forced assimilation is what it sounds like you're advocating, and I thought the saying was that "there is more than one way to skin a cat"...no?
Don't reject everything that doesn't fit your worldview, the world is a little lore complex than that and perhaps THAT is what is at the core of this "talk" about why our schools are "failing"...
People know that ghetto life isnt meant to be emulated. Do you think every single fan of rap music is from the ghetto or robs and steals? Inspectah Deck most likely did not steal lottery money and his listeners know that as well. It is just another way to boast and make him sound cool.
Rappers will always talk about the hood in their lyrics, no matter how intelligent they are, because that is how they were raised and that is what they know. To stop that would be taking away a whole culture. Its like country singers who talk about pickup trucks and wear cowboy hats. It is what they know and is a culture that millions can relate to
I refuse to take advice on rap music from someone who doesn't know rap music. Cmon, really. You don't know the first thing about what they rap about, and why they rap about it. To call it "ebonics" or "ghetto" is to miss the point completely. Funny, my parent's parents said the same thing about rock and roll. Yea, that generation sure went to hell in a hand basket. You need to broaden your horizons. It's not about "ebonics" and being "ghetto," not to mention, unfortunately, the vast majority of these kids grow up in the ghetto. Are you going to fault them for being born into poverty? I've said it once, and will say it to the day I die...it's a crime to be poor in this country. I see that every day of my life.
Its called the use of metaphors.... These lyrics are not promoting anything criminal in the least. There is also nothing "ebonic" or "ghetto" about it. This is nothing but poetry in motion honestly. If you really want to think about something from your view, its the same as comparing some of the literature from Edgar Allen Poe. His writings were very dark and scary. Cant say its in the best interest of some of our young children who read about him in school. At the same time it is encouraging to the youth seeing the meaning in reading between the lines and understand the point... Same can be said about SOME rap songs that actually have a point or a story to tell.
I will give a congrats if a rap can be created to teach the definition of a derivative.
You might be waiting a very long time.
Wu-Tang is here forever!!!! – Ol' Dirty B*****d on "Triumph"
We were on the same ship when the slaves were checked
I had to pull your card you was on the top deck
So I plotted my escape, I saw the Thin Line Between Love and Hate
And fast from the hog on the plate
I suffered brutal pains, from whips and chains
Punishments that were set to wash the brain
So look listen observe and also respect this jewel
drawed up, di-tect and reflect this
light I shine, that cause my power to be find
through the truth, which manifest through eternal minds
Purified gases and masses the same elements
that helped spark civilization classes
I see brothers quote math plus degrees
Look at professor ass nig gaz can't feed they own seeds
"What you hear is not a test I'm rappin to the beat"......Excuse me Mr. Delight is this going to be on the test? Yes... yes it is. LOL
Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight???
"You need to diversify your bonds" – Wu Tang Financial, "Chappelle Show"
I'm deep down in the back streets – in the heart of Medina
About to set off something more deep than a misdemeanor
Under the subway, waiting for the train to make noise
So I can blast a nig ga and his boys – for what?
He pushed up on the block and made the d ope sales drop
Like the crashin of Dow Jones stock
CNN’s Schools of Thought blog is a place for parents, educators and students to learn about and discuss what's happening in education. We're curious about what's happening before kindergarten, through college and beyond. Have a story to tell? Contact us at email@example.com