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Why not use hip-hop as a classroom tool? That’s one of Dr. Christopher Emdin’s suggestions on this NewsOne Now segment on urban education, sponsored by the University of Phoenix.

Emdin is an associate professor in the department of mathematics, science, and technology at Columbia University. He’s also the author of the new book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Y’all too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.

He tells the NewsOne Now panel that African-American students often feel disconnected from school because of cultural bias and traditional teaching methods that fail to engage them.

Educators, Emdin says, should consider using a different approach. Many of these students who are disengaged in the classroom connect easily with hip-hop.

That observation led him to experiment with approaching classroom lessons in a more culturally relevant way. Emdin said he has invited rappers Master P and Kendrick Lamar into classrooms as guest teachers. Master P instructed students on financial literacy and Lamar taught poetry—effectively.

While students of color make up a majority of the nation’s public school, only 17 percent of teachers are minorities. That means millions of our children are being taught by people who do not look like them, and may not understand them.



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Watch: A Remedy For Cultural Bias In The Classroom  was originally published on