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  #1  
Old 06-03-2003, 08:42 AM
december december is offline
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"School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth'?

Today's Chicago Tribune reports a new approach to education. Is it a good idea?

Quote:
In Chicago and around the country, educators are using rap and hip-hop to foster learning in the classroom, especially in urban school districts. They are instructing students to recite simple multiplication tables to a beat, dissect poetry in popular music in order to unearth metaphors and similes, or allow students to write a report in a rap style.

History can also become more relevant. One teacher said his students still remember the time a classmate wrote a rap report on World War I that had everyone cheering.

Rap is expected to become even more common in schools in the coming decade, when districts around the country are expected to hire more than a million teachers in their 20s.

These teachers are a product of the hip-hop generation and are more likely to be in tune with the youth culture, said Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade, a former elementary school instructor who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles....

Sandra Fontanez-Phelan, principal at Kelvyn Park High School, 4343 W. Wrightwood Ave., said her teachers are always on the lookout for innovative concepts. They have "one eye on what's current and one eye on what's in the future," she said....

Though many teachers might shy away from popular music because of its negative lyrical content, others say ignoring it will only perpetuate problems.
I have a litany of complaints.
  • Rap and Hip Hop are not only bad role models, they're bad music.
  • This approach is racially divisive.
  • The method is untested; there's no reason to think it will work. Yet, the article says this method is already being used "in Chicago and around the country"
  • Inner city kids ought to be given the best possible eduction. Instead, they're being used as guinea pigs.
  • Principal Fontanez-Phelan sounds more interested in what's "innovative" than in what works.
  • Professor Duncan-Andrade shouldn't be at UCLA teaching others how to teach.
  • The reporter ought not to have written the article with such an upbeat tone.
  • This whole business shows why school vouchers are essential. Too many of those running or influencing public schools have their heads up their ass.
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:02 AM
Scylla Scylla is offline
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::Gimme a beat:::


Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo December Open your mind!
Get down with it you're being unkind.

Listen to me, stop playing with your Peter
Learning is fun with rhyme and meter.

The words must have music too, you know?
No reason history shouldn't be a show.

Creating disciplined thought is all that matter
why you got to be dissing iambic pentameter?

If it's good enough for my Homey, Shakespeare it's good enough for me.
Seems a good way to enliven math and history.


-Word up.

-Word to you your mother.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:02 AM
merge merge is offline
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While I am not a big fan of Rap, I think it is somewhat of a good idea.
People have been doing this our whole lives.. this is just the next step..

everything that we ned to memorize, we are taught at a young age how to make it snappy so we are able to remember it..

Is the alphabet a song? or an order of letters??

do you say "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
or do you sing "a b c d e f g, h i j k lmnop, q r s, t u v, w x y (and)z

when learning music, did you remember egbdf were the lines? or did you have a group of words for it?

If a child does not want to learn, then you need to find a fun way for them to want to learn.
I think this is a good idea...
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:03 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Odd, then, that Shakespeare wrote in blank verse, in rhythmic phrasing that can very well be done to rap rhythm, with a lot of double entendre that presumably amused the audiences of his day but which 400 years of linguistic change have left behind.

I'm not thrilled about "let's make school relevant by watering down the curriculum" ideas. But this has its potential, and I'd like to see what they can make of it.

And kids have been learning rote material by sing-song techniques for something over a hundred years now. Little Andrea sang her ABCs for me two weeks ago in the traditional rhyme that is reminiscent of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" -- and was very proud of herself for having learned it.

As regards your last point, December, you conflate an experimental teaching technique that you happen to disapprove of with the idea that government is required to subsidize the personal predilections of parents as to how their children should be educated. Such a concept is something I feel strongly is elitist and contrary to American values, not to mention contrary to the principles of conservatism.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:05 AM
holmes holmes is offline
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December, I love you. i really do, you are so consistant in finding the negative in everything with color, that I wonder why you live in such a diverse country at all.

Get with the program. You are an old man, the world is passing you(and me) by.

Your line Rap is racially divisive, shows you know NOTHING. I remember back in the early days of MTV, MTV was afraid of playing RAP, because they were afraid of alienating the white kids....wrong. MTV Raps, began THE most popular segment on MTV. Grow up December, when Fred Flintstone is rapping Cocoa Pebbles, RAP as lost any 'edge' it might have had.



Welcome to the world of December, where wonder bread rules.....and any form of creativity must end with a string quartet.

blah.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:07 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Of course you have a litany of complaints; why should this shock any of us? However, some counterpoints:

You shouldnít generalize about all rap. Have you ever actually listened to any rap, let alone a variety of rap? I have. Not all of it is profanity-laden misogynistic crap; some of it is actually quite witty, linguistically complex, humorous, and well-constructed. If you want, Iíll ask my sister for some recommendations for you.

Why should rap in this situation necessarily function differently than any other form of poetry? Remember the ďSchoolhouse RockĒ series? Those cartoons got a large proportion of GenX (myself included) through the basics of grammar, arithmetic, and the U.S. Constitution. And Iím sure there were people kvetching at the time that we shouldnít use cartoons to teach kids the three Rs.

How do you figure using rap is racially divisive? If anything, I think having kids from different backgrounds listen to each otherís music would be a unifying force, not a divisive one, and would make the kids who grew up with rap rather than symphonic music feel included. If you pout it into its proper linguistic and cultural context, you can learn a lot from it. Or donít you think my grade school and high school should have had us learn gospel or spirituals, since they werenít the music of my heritage? (Although they were the musical heritage of about half of my schoolmates.) They were a great tool for teaching about slavery, the civil rights movement, etc.)

Besides, plenty of white kids listen to rap. My sister, the nice suburban white Jewish girl, is a big aficionado; she listens to rap and R&B to the exclusion of almost all else, as do many of her friends. My 14-year-old brother listens to rap, and he gets straight Aís at a competitive private school. There was even one quite hilarious period when my mother decided that rap was poetry, and that she should learn to write it. (Well, I donít know if Mom is a good example Ė the results were awful Ė but at least she was open-minded.)

At this moment, I have a Spanish-language hip-hop CD in my Walkman (check out www.fulanito.com), yet I also sang in various classical-type choirs all through high school and college, and for several years afterward, and continue to listen to and study all kinds of music in a relatively serious way. Why restrict kids to certain ďacceptedĒ forms of music or poetry, if thereís other stuff that will turn them on to learning? Some of these kids need all the help they can get, and if rap gets them excited about language and going to school, Iím all for it.

I suppose if it were up to you, though, the educational system would never innovate. If a log cabin in the woods was good enough for Abe Lincoln, it should be good enough for the rest of us.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:12 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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P.S. Anyone want to take on the challenge of turning december on to rap?
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:20 AM
Optihut Optihut is offline
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Scylla's reply was pretty funny, but still I have to agree with December (somewhat).

To me, this sounds like an attempt to be "cool" and have the kids think "Hey, rap music! Wow, I like this, school isn't so bad!".
My personal experience from similar situations is, that kids are rather likely to go "Oh man, this is embarrassing. Haven't they got any pride left?".

Of course the argument "kids are used as guinea pigs." and "this method is untested" is a bit problematic, as things can only turn out to be tested and effective, when they are actually done.
I for one would prefer "traditional" schooling though. In my opinion the teachers just need to increase the expectations instead of lowering them to solve a lot of problems.

Whenever I talked with teachers from my old school, they always claimed that kids today aren't as smart and in turn they have to lower the standards. This in turn leads to worse education.

However, when I was in school, I'd put just enough effort in, in order to pass. If the standards are raised, then I'd simply put a bit more effort in. To put it bluntly: Kids are lazy by default and if you lower the expectations, the average results won't get better, but will stay at the previous low, because they adapt to the new hurdles and work less accordingly.
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:21 AM
holmes holmes is offline
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Hey December, care to expand on why Rap, which seems to be enjoyed by all races, is racially divisive? I'm sure you'll google and find some guy rapping "kill whitey" and use that as 'proof', which is your usual tact.

However, i would like you to use the high road and really attempt to show, not with one or to instances, but within the 'body of work'.
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:21 AM
Collounsbury
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Re: "School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth

Quote:
Originally posted by december
I have a litany of complaints.
What a surprise.

Quote:
[*]Rap and Hip Hop are not only bad role models, they're bad music.
Well, that's a matter of taste, isn't it? Sorry this is not really a valid complaint at all, this is just whinging. My dear Father, of pre-depression vintage proclaims nothing after Mozart was of any value, about as useful a observation.

I personally rather like some Rap and Hip Hop. Some is good, much is shit. Such is music.
Quote:
[*]This approach is racially divisive.
My dear December, I am sure you may be vaguely aware that middle class white kids are the biggest present consumers of rap.

I have no opinion on the method etc.
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:40 AM
december december is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Polycarp
As regards your last point, December, you conflate an experimental teaching technique that you happen to disapprove of with the idea that government is required to subsidize the personal predilections of parents as to how their children should be educated.
It's not only that I disapprove of the technique, it's still experimental. Before educators use it widely, they ought to find out whether it works or not.

Unfortunately, the use of unproved, "innovative" methods is all too common. The education establishment has foisted fad after fad on students. My wife and I are mathematicians. When my daughter's class was using a worthless experimental math approach we saved her from innumeracy by teaching her ourselves. But, lots of inner city parents aren't in a position to save their children from ineffective education.

You may recall the notorious Tuskegee Project, where poor blacks were unknowingly used as subjects in a research project on syphilis. That was a horrible injustice. Using poor black kids as subjects of educational research is comparable IMHO.

holmes, the reason why Rap is racially divisive is that this approach will be used in black schools (I assume). Non-black schools will use different music.

Collounsbury, you are correct that I consider Mozart to be better than Rap in some more-or-less objective sense. I don't think the difference is "just taste." In fact, I think Mozart is truly better than all but a handful of other music.
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  #12  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:48 AM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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I disagree with the idea because it's just plain naff,and I think 'the kids' are likely to see it as naff too.
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  #13  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:52 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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What makes you think that rap would only be used in majority-black classrooms, other than that the Chicago public school system has a disproportionate number of majority-black classrooms? Besides, even if true, it would just be turnabout for all the black kids who were forced to sit through Mozart, or in the case of my own middle school, Simon and Garfunkel.

The techniques being used now in the Chicago public schools are NOT reaching a lot of kids. There are high schools in Chicago where more than half the kids drop out before graduation. I donít think anyone is talking about making rap part of the standard curriculum just yet, but why shouldnít teachers get a crack at using techniques that will actually reach their students, for at least a small portion of the school day? The effectiveness of the standard curriculum could hardly be worse than it is at a lot of Chicago public schools. Itís time for some innovative ideas.

And I cannot believe that you are comparing trying a new teaching technique with deliberately allowing human beings to die of a potentially fatal, but quite treatable disease. You may think that rap is poison, but I wouldnít have thought that even you could mean that literally rather than metaphorically.
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  #14  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:55 AM
Optihut Optihut is offline
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Quote:
the reason why Rap is racially divisive is that this approach will be used in black schools (I assume). Non-black schools will use different music.
Having "black schools" in the first place is racially divisive. Whatever happened to the melting pot? Classes should be mixed, that'd solve a few problems as well. Dividing people into groups is never a good idea, imho.
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  #15  
Old 06-03-2003, 09:56 AM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Re: "School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth'

I'd like to take a moment to respond to december's list of complaints.

"Rap and Hip Hop are not only bad role models, they're bad music."

Those are both opinions. Why should we agree with them?

"This approach is racially divisive."

White kids listen to rap. In fact, most rap is marketed to white suburban teenagers, because they have the money to buy it.

"The method is untested; there's no reason to think it will work. Yet, the article says this method is already being used 'in Chicago and around the country'"

Apparently there is a reason to think it will work--it relates the material to something kids like, and gets their attention. Besides, if it's being used, we should look at whether it does work in practice, not in theory.

"Inner city kids ought to be given the best possible eduction. Instead, they're being used as guinea pigs."

Traditional methods have failed in the inner city. What exactly do you recommend?

"Principal Fontanez-Phelan sounds more interested in what's "innovative" than in what works."

How is this relevant?

"Professor Duncan-Andrade shouldn't be at UCLA teaching others how to teach."

How is this relevant? And furthermore, on what basis do you make this claim?

"The reporter ought not to have written the article with such an upbeat tone."

I'm not even going to bother with this one. See my two previous comments?

"This whole business shows why school vouchers are essential. Too many of those running or influencing public schools have their heads up their ass."

As do certain posters here. Can you make a good argument for this, or are you just asserting it?

You do realize, don't you, that this is just a modern version of Schoolhouse Rock. Did you hate that too?
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  #16  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:06 AM
december december is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eva Luna
What makes you think that rap would only be used in majority-black classrooms, other than that the Chicago public school system has a disproportionate number of majority-black classrooms?
For one thing, the euphimisms in the cited article "especially in urban school districts" and "students in poorer areas."
Quote:
Besides, even if true, it would just be turnabout for all the black kids who were forced to sit through Mozart, or in the case of my own middle school, Simon and Garfunkel.
Forced to sit through Mozart?! Surely you mean Privileged to sit through Mozart.
Quote:
The effectiveness of the standard curriculum could hardly be worse than it is at a lot of Chicago public schools. Itís time for some innovative ideas.
Education didn't just begin in 2003. There are inner city schools that work. Educators ought to check out the proven techniques and use them.
Quote:
And I cannot believe that you are comparing trying a new teaching technique with deliberately allowing human beings to die of a potentially fatal, but quite treatable disease.
Yes, I intended this level of comparison. From what I have read, millions of students are functionally illiterate or nearly so.
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  #17  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:20 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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Why do you think non-black schools will use different music? (NB: it was easier just to say "non-black school" rather than quibble over what that means.)

I disagree with the premise that this is experimental. I have somehow managed to become a gainfully employed, productive member of society despite the fact that I was exposed to a heavy does of Schoolhouse Rock and Donald Duck in Mathemagics Land during my formative years. If this concept is experimental, it's getting a little long in the tooth. It's merely been updated to embrace rap music so you don't have a bunch of kids rolling their eyes through class presentations on Love Canal set to the tune of "My Sharona."

Yes, the rap will be goofy. Kids understand that, and will probably groan over it. All the music has to do is get itself stuck in their heads a la Conjunction Junction or I'm Just a Bill and it's a job well done. I don't think any of these teachers think they are producing rap music that is going to knock Eminem off the charts, nor did I read anything in that article that makes me think that rap music will replace additional reading, explanation, and discussion in the classroom on the topics it presents.
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  #18  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:22 AM
Wolfgrrl Wolfgrrl is offline
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The approach is hardly new. When I was a kid I was in a gifted students' program where classical music was played in the background all the time; I therefore learned to appreciate classical music. When I was in high school (mid-80s) we experimented with playing different types of music in the classroom, the reasoning being that since most of us studied at home while listening to music, the music could be used as a sort of mnemonic device to help us remember information during tests and such. What we found, in our almost-exclusively middle class white study, was that each kid performed best to the type of music that most suited their preference. If inner-city kids listen to rap at home, then by golly, let them listen while they learn.

Mind you, I'm no fan of rap. I'm not going to go across the board and say that none of it is any good, it just mostly doesn't suit me. There's nothing racially divisive about it though - most rap fans and many of the artists are white, and I personally like plenty of other styles of music performed by non-white artists. I spent four years working as a security guard at a sports/concert arena, and easily 60-70% of the audience at rap concerts was made up of white teenagers. In fact, the biggest problem we ever had at any of those concerts (apart from a backstage shooting, which was after I'd quit) was with a group of 15-year-old white kids from an affluent community, who absolutely trashed a luxury box rented by one kid's father's company. The problem there isn't music, it's ignorant kids who just needed an excuse to act out.

The only way they're going to know if it works is by doing it. Based on my experience it's worth trying, and given the state of education in truly poor districts around the country, I really don't see any drawbacks. If it helps a handful of kids, at least that's a handful more than before.
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  #19  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:25 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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quote:

Originally posted by Eva Luna
What makes you think that rap would only be used in majority-black classrooms, other than that the Chicago public school system has a disproportionate number of majority-black classrooms?

For one thing, the euphimisms in the cited article "especially in urban school districts" and "students in poorer areas."
quote:

Besides, even if true, it would just be turnabout for all the black kids who were forced to sit through Mozart, or in the case of my own middle school, Simon and Garfunkel.

[quote]Forced to sit through Mozart?! Surely you mean Privileged to sit through Mozart. [/b]

I meant exactly what I said. I happen to enjoy Mozart (along with a wide variety of other types of music). Yes, kids should be exposed to Mozart. However, if you are not giving them a choice, then yes, you are forcing them in a quite literal sense.

Quote:
Education didn't just begin in 2003. There are inner city schools that work. Educators ought to check out the proven techniques and use them.
Would you care to share with the rest of the GD class exactly what magical and universally effective techniques these are, and perhaps expound on why, in your view, they are not being used to the extent you believe they should be? Iíd be happy to share your thoughts with a good friend of mine, who teaches Special Ed in a Chicago public school on the South Side, a school which is nearly all black and is located across the street from a public housing project. Iíll see her in guitar class tonight, where she learns things that she takes back to her students to motivate them. IMO, and in her quite experienced O (she has a masterís in speech therapy and several years of special ed experience), anything that will work on a low-income autistic child is worth a crack.

Iíll also share your ideas with my stepmother, who is the #2 person in the NYC Board of Edís Office of Legal Counsel; she deals every day with the fallout of parents who believe their kids are being shortchanged educationally. Iím sure both would be glad to hear your magical solution.


Quote:
Yes, I intended this level of comparison [between rap as an unproven teaching technique and the Tuskegee experiment]. From what I have read, millions of students are functionally illiterate or nearly so.
Functional illiteracy, while awful, is curable. In addition, it does not cause death. End-stage syphillis causes irreversible physical damage, and eventually, death. (And I even learned that in my racially mixed public-school education.)
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  #20  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:29 AM
Latro Latro is online now
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Hey, December, what better way to get kids off of rap then by making it a school curriculum.
Hope it works out that way..
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  #21  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:30 AM
holmes holmes is offline
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December There you go assuming again.
Quote:
holmes, the reason why Rap is racially divisive is that this approach will be used in black schools (I assume). Non-black schools will use different music.
As numerous posters have stated, the majority of people that listen to RAP are middle class white kids. Why it is so beyond your scope to believe that some of those "non black "schools will be listening to the same music?

Further, you refer to the code words 'urban' and 'poor', to infer 'blackness'. You do know that majority of poor schools in this country (US) are white, just like the majority of welfare users are.

Your comparsion of this and the Tuskegee Project, shows how little you understand the African American experience.

Big surprise.
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  #22  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:31 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Sorry for the screwed-up coding. I must have gone to an underprivileged school, because they didnít teach us VB code. If a passing mod could do some repair work, Iíd appreciate it.
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  #23  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:51 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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I'll second that this isn't new. My mom had to analyze popular music as poetry (an exersize that turned her on to analysis as a whole, as it turns out). She analyzed Pink Floyd.

The funny thing is, my mom was close to dropping out. But she made it and as I was growing up, she went to college. She used to tell me stories about this lesson (and similar ones) to show why she likes learning and why she continued school.

When I went to school we did all kinds of activities like the ones described. I particularly remember having to write our own version of McBeth. We framed ours as about skateboard gangs. I'll never forget how we interpreted "So fair and foul a day" as a reason for why they'd walk around with one pants leg up and one down. Framing these old stories in a way that was relevent to our lives really did help engage us and helped us understand the characters' motivations.

At other times, we set our lessons to popular music. I was a white punk rocker in a very racially diverse high school that was largely filled with rap fans. I never felt it as racially divisive when we had lessons that intergrated rap music. Usually we'd get our choice of how to do these projects, and while most people chose rap I was perfectly free to set my oral report on Swedish fairy tales to a Ramones song.

So this isn't new. It isn't divisive. It isn't the sole province of poor schools. What was your complaint again? Oh yeah. The story is too upbeat. Like every other human interest story on Earth.
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Old 06-03-2003, 10:54 AM
holmes holmes is offline
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One more question, December:

Do you consider School House Rock or Sesame Street or any of the other PBS type 'educational' programs worthwhile? Or is it just because this is 'black' culture that gives you a problem?

I only ask because i remember some "experts" Sesame Street being criticized because it "didn't follow the rules"...it had puppets and live actors interacting today (would confuse kids), had people of different races interacting(would be divisive) was experimental (bad).

I think it been over 30 years now and still running strong...i wonder where all those experts are today?

So December, is Sesame Street bad for our kids? If not, why not?
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  #25  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:01 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
*Rap and Hip Hop are not only bad role models, they're bad music.
* This approach is racially divisive.
December, you strike me as the type who would have been saying this about rock and roll 40 years ago, and the blues 60 years ago (when it was called "race music"). These forms of music have one thing in common, but I won't say it. Instead, I'll just say that you sound like a 120-year-old man.

Quote:
* The method is untested; there's no reason to think it will work. Yet, the article says this method is already being used "in Chicago and around the country"
I guess we'd better stop trying new things, then. They might not work.

Quote:
* Inner city kids ought to be given the best possible eduction. Instead, they're being used as guinea pigs.
You're not wrong. Unfortunately, a lot of inner-city education sucks and needs to be changed. [By the way, you go on to advocate experimenting with vouchers. I guess only certain kinds of experimentation are OK.]

Quote:
* Principal Fontanez-Phelan sounds more interested in what's "innovative" than in what works.
I think you're assuming that because it's innovative, it doesn't work. You have no idea if it does or not. You've decided ahead of time that it can't because it's new and it involves something you're biased against. It may be a lame failure, but hey, so is a lot of education.

Quote:
* Professor Duncan-Andrade shouldn't be at UCLA teaching others how to teach.
And you're in a position to comment why? He's a hell of a lot more qualified than you seem to be.

Quote:
* The reporter ought not to have written the article with such an upbeat tone.
Upbeat tone? where? Fortunately, any potential upbeat-ness is nicely balanced out by your conviction that this is doomed. Why oh why won't the world listen to December? Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do!

Quote:
* This whole business shows why school vouchers are essential. Too many of those running or influencing public schools have their heads up their ass.
Which begs the question - do you run or influence a public school? In any case, if there were vouchers, most of these kids (in the inner city) would probably still be where they are).

Popular music in school - what are they thinking? I'm glad nobody tried to use Frere Jacques to teach us a little French, or the ABC song, or the months of the year... damn, probably half of what we learned in those early grades was through song. Rhyming is very well-established mnemonic device. That's why poets and songwriters use it, and it was/is used by everybody from Shakespeare to rappers for the same reason.
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  #26  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:10 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
You may recall the notorious Tuskegee Project, where poor blacks were unknowingly used as subjects in a research project on syphilis. That was a horrible injustice. Using poor black kids as subjects of educational research is comparable IMHO.
Wow. It's only noon, but it's gonna be tough finding anything dumber to scratch my head over. Let's compare.

If the Tuskegee project was a success, the victims ended up with syphillis. If it was a failure... I guess the failure was when they died.
If this method, which is in fact different from what schools do now in only the tiniest of ways, succeeds, kids learn something. If it fails, they don't, and we go back to other methods.

Quote:
Forced to sit through Mozart?! Surely you mean Privileged to sit through Mozart.
This really says it all, doesn't it? If December likes it, everybody has to. If he doesn't, it's a horrible idea and we should all rise up against it. If they were using Mozart to teach, I doubt we'd be reading these stupid, stupid complaints.
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  #27  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:24 AM
Optihut Optihut is offline
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Wow, there seem to be a lot of people who really like rap music... Or then again, they just might like to disagree with december out of habit

Come on, whenever december wrote highly debateable (read: screwed up nonsense) things, I'd jump on the bandwagon and criticize him for it. But is it really one of those instances or are you guys overreacting?
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  #28  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:31 AM
even sven even sven is offline
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Well my beef is that every objection he has to this teaching practice is a lie.

Which leaves us with one issue. One issue that starts with a big black "R". And I think I know how December stands on this one issue.
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  #29  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:32 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Optihut
Wow, there seem to be a lot of people who really like rap music... Or then again, they just might like to disagree with december out of habit

Come on, whenever december wrote highly debateable (read: screwed up nonsense) things, I'd jump on the bandwagon and criticize him for it. But is it really one of those instances or are you guys overreacting?
His allegations are highly debatable, and so we are debating them. This is the purpose of the GD forum, is it not?

And the only reason I have a habit of debating december is that he has a habit of posting assertions with which I vehemently disagree. I suspect the same is true of most other posters who tend to disagree with him. Nothing wrong with that, per se.
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Old 06-03-2003, 11:41 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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"School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth'?

Amusingly, the quote parodied in the headline is from As You Like It, Not Macbeth. Perhaps if there had been more hip-hop in schools, the person who came up with the headline would know that.
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  #31  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:45 AM
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Hey look, december, somebody put your whole political philosophy to music! 639k .wav audio file
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  #32  
Old 06-03-2003, 11:52 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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What's it say about me that I knew the song and the movie in question before I clicked on the link?
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  #33  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:00 PM
Latro Latro is online now
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Que tu est Groucho, tendance Marxiste?
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  #34  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:02 PM
Latro Latro is online now
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es
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  #35  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by december
It's not only that I disapprove of the technique, it's still experimental. Before educators use it widely, they ought to find out whether it works or not.
The highly effective teaching songs in Sesame Street during the 1970s were in the style of the popular musical fashion of the time. So why is using today's popular forms different?
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  #36  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:00 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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Geez, december, need a little more racism in your OP?

As others have pointed out, Sesame Street and Schoolhouse Rock shows that music can be used for educational purposes (and I'd add Tom Lehrer and Happy Days to that list). This is merely a mild variation of the same idea; just because you have stereotypes of rap being gangsta hoodz an' hos (1) doesn't make it so, and (2) doesn't make the idea invalid.

In fact, I have an audio tape in the back of my closet somewhere with a little song I taped off the radio about a decade ago -- "Shakespeare Rap," which summarizes a half-dozen of Will Shakespeare's plays through rap music. No gangstaz, no hos, no explicit lyrics(*), just education in an entertaining medium. Now I'm tempted to dig that tape out of the closet and rip it to MP3...

(* = Okay, it's got "damn" and "hell" in it, but that's only because those are from the original Shakespeare. Check out the lyricshere, yo.)
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  #37  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:25 PM
Avalonian Avalonian is offline
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Re: "School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth'

Quote:
Originally posted by december
I have a litany of complaints.
Yes, you do... very few of them are reasonable complaints, however.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
Rap and Hip Hop are not only bad role models, they're bad music.
Bad role models? You know all rap artists intimately, then? Well enough to criticize them all fairly? Please, do name some rap artists you know and your specific criticisms about their lives.

*chirping crickets*

That's what I thought.

And bad music? Surely even you can concede that this is just a silly thing tosay, and not at all germane to whatever point you may be trying to make. While you and I may enjoy Mozart, not everyone does. Some people like rap... why not cater to that as well? It is a powerful modern cultural influence. Why not use to to our kids' advantage?

Quote:
Originally posted by december
This approach is racially divisive.
Other posters have already pointed out the inaccuracy of this... I will further point out the blatant racism in the above statement. Rap is "black" music, so only black students will appreciate it? Try again... this is an ignorant statement, and a racist one.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
The method is untested; there's no reason to think it will work. Yet, the article says this method is already being used "in Chicago and around the country" Inner city kids ought to be given the best possible eduction. Instead, they're being used as guinea pigs.
"No Child Left Behind" is also highly experimental, and largely untested. So, for that matter, is the widespread use of school vouchers. Are you going to complain as vehemently about these experimental ideas in public education?

*chirping crickets*

That's what I thought.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
Principal Fontanez-Phelan sounds more interested in what's "innovative" than in what works.
Ideas can be innovative and effective at the same time. I assume you have a cite showing that this doesn't work? Something showing test score changes from previous years, and comparative scores after this was implemented would be the thing, displaying an obvious trend to the negative, would be the thing you want.

*chirping crickets*

That's what I thought.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
Professor Duncan-Andrade shouldn't be at UCLA teaching others how to teach.
Simply because you don't like what he teaches? P'shaw. Who should be teaching our future teachers, december? Laura Bush?

Teacher education should be diverse and give teachers to explore many different avenues of teaching to find what works best for them and their students. It should not be a lock-step single-methodology process.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
The reporter ought not to have written the article with such an upbeat tone.
Yes, because this is such a horrible idea that there's no possible good, or even remotely interesting, in it.

Quote:
Originally posted by december
This whole business shows why school vouchers are essential. Too many of those running or influencing public schools have their heads up their ass.
Cite? Photos would be good.

*chirping crickets*

That's what I thought.

Again, simply because you don't like the idea, everyone who does has their heads up their ass.

december, this is you at your worst. Without a single cite to support your position (and one which takes the opposite one), you maintain that rap music in education is just a "bad idea." Tell you what, kiddo... prove it. Put up or shut up.

OptiHut, the OP is racist and utterly unsupported (possibly unsupportable). Each of its points are simply opinion, stated as fact. Frankly, it's one of the worst examples I've seen of what december is infamous for. Had this been in the Pit I might cut him a break, but he chose to put this in GD, so he deserves everything he's gotten so far and more.
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  #38  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:45 PM
UrbanChic UrbanChic is offline
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[hijack]
december, this *is* you at your worst. Time and time again I've given you the benefit of the doubt. Never again will I do so.
[/hijack]
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  #39  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:47 PM
Optihut Optihut is offline
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Avalonian, in what regard is the OP ""School's a stage, kids are playaz" - Can rap teach kids math, history & 'MacBeth'?" racist?
It's a question I could answer with a clear "no, they cannot". Yet, I get the impression that the OP isn't what's being discussed here, but rather that everyone is having too much fun picking on december. Usually I can relate, but just not this time

Quote:
Each of its points are simply opinion, stated as fact.
december's disclaimer, namely "I have a litany of complaints." makes it clear that he is voicing his opinion.

This one is my opinion by the way: I think that if december had argued the other way around and made a comment about liking rap music, a lot of people would tear into him for that now. Not because they disagree, but because of past grudges.

As for the comparison with sesame street: There is a difference between school and a TV show. Kids didn't go to school one day to find Bibo there, instead of their teacher. Sesame street is a plus and kids have the option to watch it. With school, there is no such option. Therefore I would prefer a tried and tested method. All hip, cool, new, experimental stuff can be done as an additional offer, but not as a replacement. Sure, if it happens to work, fine, but what if it doesn't? I sure don't want to be the one to explain to kids that their education was screwed up, just because their principal back then was a big time fan of marshall mathers.
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  #40  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:00 PM
december december is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by holmes
One more question, December:

Do you consider School House Rock or Sesame Street or any of the other PBS type 'educational' programs worthwhile?
I have no idea what School House Rock is. My kids were early viewers of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers in the late 60's. They were great shows. However, I have noted that countrywide educational achievement did not imporve at the time Sesame Street became popular. In fact, it began to fall. So, I would judge that Sesame Street has not been effective educationally.
Quote:
Or is it just because this is 'black' culture that gives you a problem?
The last thing my parents would have wanted me to learn in public school was Jewish immigrant culture. They could provide as much of that as they liked. They wanted the schools to teach me to be a part of America. So, yes, I am unhappy at the schools focusing on "black culture."

However, if the Rap approach really worked, I'd put aside those concerns. My greatest concern is that these children learn reading, writing, arithmetic, history, science, etc.

I don't think this Rap/Hip Hop program is the worst thing the public schools have done. Some of the experimental math was much more destructive. But, it's just another dumb approach from people who favor novelty over effectiveness.

Eva Luna, you ask what does work. I recommend No Excuses: Lessons from 21 High-Performing, High-Poverty Schools by Samuel Casey Carter. It "examines the common practices of twenty one principals of low-income schools who set the standard for high achievement. The lessons uncovered in these case-studies provide an invaluable resource for anyone interested in providing increased educational opportunities for low-income children."

rjung and Avalonian, your cry of racism is like being stuck in a box that limits your thinking. The methods described in Carter's book have actually worked. But, you consider it unacceptible to criticize unproved methods, because they relate to black culture. I certainly don't think the two of you are racists. However, your type of PC-blinkered thinking unfortunately limits the possible solutions to inner city educaiton problems.
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  #41  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:09 PM
holmes holmes is offline
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Optihut December's assumption that this is a "black" thing and therefor BAD, tainted him and I imagine closed his mind to WHY it might be a good thing. I think that more than anything set the pack on him, opinions notwithstanding.

As far a Sesame Street and the other TV shows, this is the same THEORY. You take something and make it accessible to your audience...using popular culture. Watch some of the 1970 Sesame Street cartoons and grove to the Disco beat. But wasn't Disco crap? Maybe, but my kids can still count to 20 AND do the hustle.

I'm over 40 freaking years old and I still sing that Conjunction Junction song and understand when and how to use one. I still remember that King Croc, with his seven sons...
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  #42  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:12 PM
UrbanChic UrbanChic is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by december
The last thing my parents would have wanted me to learn in public school was Jewish immigrant culture. They could provide as much of that as they liked. They wanted the schools to teach me to be a part of America. So, yes, I am unhappy at the schools focusing on "black culture."
I would first like to point out that rap/hip hop is no more black culture than country western music is white culture.

Let's, for the sake of argument, assume that it is, though. Are black people not a part of this country? Do you have a problem with music appreciation classes teaching students about jazz? Do you have a problem with history classes teaching students about what it was like to be a slave in this country? Do you have a problem with students learning about Jim Crow laws?

It's people like you, december, who remind me it's the ones that don't wear the white robes I have to look out for.
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  #43  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:14 PM
Avalonian Avalonian is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by december
rjung and Avalonian, your cry of racism is like being stuck in a box that limits your thinking. The methods described in Carter's book have actually worked. But, you consider it unacceptible to criticize unproved methods, because they relate to black culture. I certainly don't think the two of you are racists. However, your type of PC-blinkered thinking unfortunately limits the possible solutions to inner city educaiton problems.
You obviously didn't read my post, december. I criticized your specific statement of the rap music approach being "racially divisive" as racist in nature. Unless you'd care to further expand on that and explain what you meant and how it isn't racist, I maintain that, as it stands, the statement is a racist one.

The point of "unproved methods" is a completely separate one, which I note you also did not address, and your conflation of the two points serves your argument very poorly. Also, trying to cast rjung and I as "PC" is simple ad hominem.

Are you planning to make a valid point at some time?

OptiHut... this answers one of your questions, about the racism charge. One statement within the original post is a racist statement.

Further, had december's OP expressed even cautious inquiry of the method used in the article he cited, I would not have had a problem with that. It was specifically the inaccurate, opinion-based, groundless nature of the OP that brought out my criticism. I can only speak for myself, but in regards to me, you're completely off-base in your accusation of "grudges." The lack of merit in the OP, on a subject I know a great deal about, is what prompted my reply, and nothing more.
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  #44  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:25 PM
Optihut Optihut is offline
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I don't like the spin this debate is getting. Instead of shouting "racist! racist!" would anybody actually care to return to the OP?

Let's take a look, we have got a new method for teaching kids and among other things - which have already been debated, twisted and repeated to death - december said "Inner city kids ought to be given the best possible eduction. Instead, they're being used as guinea pigs.".
Granted, I criticized that reasoning in my first reply, but the more I think about it, the more it rings true. I gave my 2 cents on the counter argument of sesame street, but I'll gladly rephrase and repeat:

I liked the count, Ernie and Bert just like the next guy, but as a TV show, this is merely an addition to what I learned at school. All the important things were learned in "traditional" classes. While it is commendable to try something new, this should be offered as an addition and not as a replacement to already effective methods.
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  #45  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:26 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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december, Iím surprised you donít remember Schoolhouse Rock; your kids are about my age. From Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...music&n=507846

ďIt's hard to overestimate the effect Schoolhouse Rock had on anyone who was a child between 1973 and 1985. Forty-one three-minute educational cartoons set to original songs, they were the original music videos, and they taught countless kids the difference between adjectives ("Unpack Your Adjectives") and adverbs ("Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here"), how to multiply ("Three Is a Magic Number"), basic principles of science ("Do the Circulation," "Interplanet Janet"), and American civics ("I'm Just a Bill," "The Preamble"). All of the original songs are here, plus four Money Rock songs--"Dollars and Sense" and "Where the Money Goes" are as classic as any of the original standouts--and four tracks from the short-lived Scooter Computer & Mr. Chips series (which, unlike the rest of the Schoolhouse Rock songs, can be dated by the proto-new-wave-influenced instrumentation). A classic collection of (mostly) timeless songs that shaped the minds of a generation or two: how many box sets can you say that about?Ē

This is Amazonís editorial review; the customer reviews are also quite telling about the impact the series had on my entire generation.

Even my parents, who used to have a rule that we could only watch 30 min./day of TV that wasnít PBS, had no problems with Schoolhouse Rock. There was even a recent live musical stage version; I missed it, because all the performances were sold out.

So if Schoolhouse Rock is any indication, a rap teaching technique could be quite effective for todayís kids. Why are you so against the idea of trying something new, if current techniques arenít cutting the mustard? Again, nobody is advocating making rap the basic standard framework; itís a supplemental idea that could be used to reach kids who are otherwise in danger of missing much-needed educational opportunities.

(And thanks for the book recommendation; Iíll pass it along to my Special Ed friend, although she is so disgusted with the Chicago system that this will be her last year with them. She has a new job in the fall in Wilmette, the school district with Illinoisí highest per-capita spending level. Iím sure sheíll have new challenges, but low-income kids and their attendant problems wonít be one of them.)
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  #46  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:30 PM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by holmes
I still remember that King Croc, with his seven sons...
Pssst. Holmes,

It's the Aligator King and his seven sons

http://home.nc.rr.com/muppetsongs/songs/alligator_king
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  #47  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:34 PM
holmes holmes is offline
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quote from December

Quote:
However, I have noted that countrywide educational achievement did not imporve at the time Sesame Street became popular. In fact, it began to fall. So, I would judge that Sesame Street has not been effective educationally.
You're looking to show a causal connection between the success of Sesame Street, a tv show for preschoolers and why our schools are still failing...? And you expect to be taken seriously?
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  #48  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:39 PM
holmes holmes is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by autz
Pssst. Holmes,

It's the Aligator King and his seven sons

http://home.nc.rr.com/muppetsongs/songs/alligator_king
Thanks Autz, I was wondering why I couldn't the damn thing to hum right...I did remember the lemon drops and rubies and cheap cigars and.....now of course I can't stop humming the thing.
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  #49  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:39 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
In fact, I have an audio tape in the back of my closet somewhere with a little song I taped off the radio about a decade ago -- "Shakespeare Rap," which summarizes a half-dozen of Will Shakespeare's plays through rap music. No gangstaz, no hos, no explicit lyrics(*), just education in an entertaining medium.
The drama group I joined in high school did something like this, too (a few years before I got there). I'm not a big rap fan, but it happens to go very well with Shakespeare. Anyone ever heard of The Bomb-itty of Errors? Rapped Shakespeare, rather large hit.

Quote:
So, yes, I am unhappy at the schools focusing on "black culture."
Nothing's gonna convince you that this is just culture, not "black culture," is it? You know the first musician to have a #1 rap single was white [I will not mention his name], and the first rap group to have a #1 rap album (The Beastie Boys) was also white? In fact, they were white Jewish guys.
This technique may not work. I have no idea. But if it DOES help, what's the problem? And upon what is your conviction that it won't work based? So far, it seems to be based on the fact that you don't like this "black" music. Whatever changes are made in education, somebody's always against it on principle, it's always doom for the kids, 'won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?'
If "black culture" is a problem, why is it OK for schools to use Simon and Garfunkel or Mozart or Schoolhouse Rocks in the same capacity? Because it's "white culture?" Or "American culture," which is different from black culture?

By the way, December, your example is flawed. Judaism is a religion and actually has a culture associated with it (though there are obviously variations). That'd be something your parents pass on. Black is just a skin color. There's no single black culture.
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  #50  
Old 06-03-2003, 02:44 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Today's Chicago Tribune reports a new approach to education. Is it a good idea?
Just a thought, december - do you think you'd do better if you actually ASKED people what they thought, or pretended you cared? All of your GD threads just state your opinion the topic, and it just turns into a stream of you badgering people for having different opinions, and them complaining that... well, you know what they say.
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