OHIO’s Patton College of Education implements first ever Hip-Hop based education program to prepare teachers to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy

Published: March 17, 2021 Author: Samantha Pelham

Ohio University’s Patton College of Education is implementing the first ever hip-hop based education program that will help prepare pre-service teachers to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy into their own teaching styles.

The innovative and progressive program known as Hip-Hop OHIO Patton Education (HOPE) is led by program coordinator and longtime hip-hop producer Dr. Jason Rawls.

Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE) teaches the value of incorporating hip-hop-based education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and relational pedagogy into the classroom to build healthy and affirming relationships while bettering engagement with students. Although this type of programming has been taught before, according to Rawls, this is the first time it will be incorporated into a College of Education’s Teacher Education program.

Students in the Teacher Education Program will learn how to use the aesthetics of hip-hop culture in their classroom and the importance of incorporating culture and fun within their lesson plans.

“I’ve always been into hip-hop and education and as I’ve moved forward in my career, I saw this new way of combining my two passions in a way that can better serve both students and teachers in the classroom,” Rawls said. “This idea to remix education and bring hip-hop into the classroom can really allow for teaching to be made even more fun and for teachers to better engage with their students, particularly Black students who may not always feel seen.”

Rawls explained that students of color don’t often see their culture brought into the classroom and that it can make it harder for them to be who they are. By bringing hip-hop aesthetics into the classroom, teachers can make learning more fun and engaging while allowing them to feel more connected to the lessons.

“In the Patton College we strive to develop and incorporate innovative academic experiences that foster an appreciation for and deep understanding of other cultures and learning styles,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of the Patton College. “The HOPE Program offers unique, one-of-a-kind educator preparation that provides cultural relevance and meaning for students in urban schools and communities.”

The Patton College is also implementing the Brothers Rallying to Inspire and Shape Education (Brothers RISE) Initiative, an initiative that aligns with the HOPE program and is aimed at nurturing and recruiting outstanding individuals, particularly Black males, for leadership in education. Part of the program includes a weeklong Brothers RISE orientation, as well as academic and social support at each level of the students’ teacher preparation; a focus on psychosocial and racial identity and ethnic development of each student; opportunities to engage in research, professional development and mentorship; and potentially tuition assistance.

Rawls has been working in Hip-Hop professionally since 1997, having worked with artists like Doseone, Domo Genesis (Odd Future), Capital Steez (Pro Era), Beastie Boys, and Aloe Blacc. He has released over 20 albums and co-authored the book “Youth Culture Power,” which lays out a foundation for educators seeking to use youth culture to build constructive relationships with their students.

For more information about the program, contact Frans Doppen at doppen@ohio.edu.