Hip Hop Pedagogy

For this week’s readings, I finally felt like I could relate to technical spaces and how we want to learn or make meaning in those spaces. Before reading Del Hierro’s chapter I would have never thought that hip hop practices would be a valuable contributor to the field of technical communication. I enjoyed how Del Hierro look at the role of culture in technical workspaces and how hip hop complicates what counts as both technical and a workspace (237). A lot of my research for my other course deals with culture and how we as people embody previous experiences and how we apply this into a first year writing course. So it was great to see how Del Hierro examines how hip hop can be applied to the technical communication as well as the classroom.

On page 244, Del Hierro goes in depth how we shoud pay closer attention to culture within these spaces of technical communication. “Making the shift of paying more attention to culture invites more theory into the conversation, particularly theories paying attention to power, privilege, and difference. This may cause anxiety for some and add tension to the relationship between industry and scholarship” (244). He then relates culture with the genre of hip hop and how this particular genre uses different techniques to make meaning. For example, graffiti is used as an art in neighborhoods, gangs use their territories and different colors to represent identification, and rapping has always been a tool to create narratives of the black culture, which is most popular. I found that Edwards article relates to Del Hierro because she explores how language and race shapes who we are. It is an example of how we categorize people and commonly when we think of hip hop we automatically think of the black culture.

Another aspect of Del Hierro’s chapter explore how another scholar in the field applied hip hop pedagogy in the classroom. Here, I seen a connection with Erin Frost’s risk communication. The writer goes on to explain that, “The instructor must enact the kinds of pedagogical practices that decenter the teacher as the most important person in the classroom. S/he must also design a curriculum that is inclusive and aware of how power and privilege affect the classroom” (255). “Failure, mistakes, and errors should be valued as much as agreements, successes, and strong arguments. Everyone in the room must be committed to making the space a safe, fun experience” (256). I would agree that it is important to culturally situate these rhetorical activities so that students gain an understanding of how culture impacts the ways people communicate (259). I think if we were to look at some of these techniques and compare them to what is already being done in the classroom, I think we could make that connection between technical communication and first year writing courses.


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