ERIC Number: ED349552
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Rap Music and the First-Year Writing Curriculum.
Frisk, Philip Justin
Numerous critics have repeatedly called for the use of curricular materials drawn from the learner's everyday world, and for many of today's students, one valuable source is the lyrics of contemporary rap music. In first-year writing courses at Michigan State University, the words to one rap song, "You Must Learn" by the group Boogie Down Productions, have been used with some success. Four student responses to the text of the song demonstrate that students are capable of conceiving more or less "successful readings" of the song. One student sees the song as an attack on traditional middle-class, white-based schooling. Another student picks up on one of the song's points, the traditional curriculum's insult to a black mentality. Another student notices the complaint about the repression of black history, while the fourth student notes that the failing student in the song is labelled as rebellious. A final example illustrates a less successful response to the song in which the student inserts her own points of view rather than identifying those of the lyrics. Rather than dismiss this last student response, however, the teacher should try to discover what motivates it. David Bartholomae has conceptualized methods by which teachers can interpret such responses. Moving beyond Bartholomae's concept, the paper states that such students can be seen as "brainwashed" by dominant ideologies which repress rebellion. These students must be trained to operate in academic discourse models. In short, English teachers cannot evade the critical study of ideologies. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bartholomae (David); Lyrics; Michigan State University; Rap Music
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).