Welcome To The Flocast – Flocabulary’s Hip Hop Pedagogy Podcast

Welcome to the Flocast: Flocabulary’s Hip-Hop Pedagogy Podcast

Hip-hop pedagogy is not a new concept in the realm of education, but its ability to be integrated as a powerful tool for engagement and academic rigor has sparked a recent interest in classrooms worldwide. Flocabulary has long helped students thrive by bringing their curriculum to life with videos and activities that utilize hip-hop making them captivating, relevant and research-based. The Flocast, Flocabualry’s new hip-hop pedagogy podcast, looks to explore the ideas, the history, the barriers and the untapped potential that hip-hop has in bridging the achievement gap.

One of the most prominent motivators behind the ongoing search for innovative teaching strategies is the apparent stagnation of the achievement gap. The National Assessment for Educational Progress shows that in the past 50 years, there has been almost no change in the achievement gap between white and black students. There are many factors that contribute to the achievement gap such as racism, lack of acculturation, socioeconomic status, availability of technology, and access to academically enriching opportunities.

With this achievement gap, is a growing disparity between the nation’s highest and lowest achievers. We believe that teaching is the most important job in the world and know that even the best teachers need support. Flocabulary is here to lend that support through hip-hop pedagogy. Research has found that hip-hop can be used to teach vocabulary, critical thinking skills, critical literacy, media literacy skills, STEM skills, critical consciousness, and more. By building these critical skills among our students, we can start to close that achievement gap.

As our world continues to evolve, so must the way we engage our students. Although the concept of hip-hop in the classroom is not new, there is still a lot of uncertainty and fear surrounding the idea. This is where The Flocast Podcast from Flocabulary comes in.

Breaking down hip-hop pedagogy

One of the most notable scholars of Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE) is Dr. Christopher Emdin. He defines hip-hop pedagogy as “a way of authentically and practically incorporating the creative elements of hip-hop into teaching, and inviting students to have a connection with the content while meeting them on their cultural turf by teaching to, and through, their realities and experiences.” Hip-hop is the most popular genre of music, despite language and location. This is especially true among school-aged children. This means that even if hip-hop is not a part of your daily life, as an educator who wishes to form authentic connections with students, it is something that would be beneficial to explore.

When it comes to hip-hop in education, we encourage teachers to find a sense of comfortability in being the “guide on the side” instead of the “sage on the stage.” If you are not already immersed in the culture, your students do not expect you to become a hip-hop expert overnight! This is where many start to feel a sense of inauthenticity. We encourage you to allow your students to be the experts and learn about hip-hop fundamentals. Hip-hop has been used in the classroom as an engagement tool for years, but it is time to take it to the next level!

Additionally, hip-hop uses two to three times more words per song on average compared to other music genres, and includes figurative language and wordplay, making it a rich format for teaching complex concepts and emphasizing vocabulary acquisition.

Flocabulary Vocabulary Tiers pyramid

Flocabulary’s hip-hop infused videos combine standards-aligned content with grade-appropriate tier 2 and 3 vocabulary—along with attention-grabbing music, visuals, and subtitles to engage students in multiple learning modalities.

Flocabulary has curated standards-aligned lesson sequences where students are exposed to every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We know that hip-hop makes academically rigorous content more relevant, relatable, and accessible for students of all backgrounds. Not sure where to get started? We have you covered.

Meet our hosts: the Flocabulary specialists!

Whenever you tune in, you’ll hear from our very own Flocabulary Specialists, Brianna Harmon and TeAna Conaway-Manson. Briana, aka Bri, is a former educator and devoted to learning. She transitioned from the classroom and is currently an on-air host and entertainment reporter at Revolt TV. She also has previous experience working with world-renowned record label Epic Records. Bri enjoys having a front-row seat to using hip-hop in the classroom and its evolution. TeAna, aka Tee, is also a former educator who has served in multiple school districts in Maryland during her career. She recently obtained her M.Ed. in Culturally Responsive Teacher Leadership and started her own educational consulting agency. She believes that hip-hop pedagogy is essential to meeting students where they are. Our subject matter experts are excited to share their knowledge, experience, and dynamic personalities with you!

This podcast is so important because I believe it will shine a light on a genre that has been negatively discussed as well as expose other educators to the power of using hip-hop in the classroom.

Brianna Harmon

We have an opportunity to validate the voices of historically marginalized students, create a sense of normalcy around hip-hop, and promote a sense of safety and belonging by implementing a part of who they already are into the curriculum.

TeAna Conaway-Manson

Welcome to the Flocast

When you tap into The Flocast, you’ll leave with some significant takeaways. Gathering the best and brightest in the intersection of hip-hop and education allows us to provide our listeners with concrete reasons why music belongs in the classroom and examine the creative ways educators use hip-hop to improve learning. Suppose you examine the mission and vision statements of most schools and districts. You will see that they foster specific skills such as leadership, self-advocacy, perseverance, social responsibility, and integrity. All of these skills can be facilitated through the incorporation of hip-hop pedagogy.

This podcast will provide teachers with a blueprint for taking the most popular genre of music and seamlessly fusing it with education. Flocabulary is a powerful, academically rigorous tool; our specialists use it to set the stage.The platform is the ideal centerpiece for in-depth conversations surrounding topics that range from finding your own “flow” as an educator to strategies for authentically assessing students using Lyric Lab.

Flocast recording at ISTE 2022

The Flocast lineup

There is literally something for everyone! And speaking of range, this podcast’s guest lineup is impressive, to say the least. In the first few episodes alone, you’ll hear from:

  • Flocabulary PioNears with 20+ years of education experience
  • Amir Windom, a Grammy Award-winning record and entertainment executive, who has worked alongside some of the biggest names in hip-hop (including Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, and Trey Songz)
  • Thomas E. Mayfield, a former educator still in the K-12 system who used hip-hop to raise test scores and changed the fate of his marginalized students
  • Marcella Runell, the world-renowned community organizer who founded the Hip-Hop Education Center and serves as a curator for the NYC Hip-Hop Museum
  • Maurice Johnson is an internationally recognized college professor who has developed his own course surrounding music and education

…and many more!

Our goal is to create a level playing field for all educators who wish to tap into the innovative and creative pedagogy surrounding hip-hop-based education. Our focus revolves around cultivating a sense of community and understanding so that listeners will be able to take what they learn and apply it directly to their own students without hesitation.