Rawls & Robinson
Hip Hop kids turned educators and music maestros. Dr. Jason Rawls and John Robinson’s paths first crossed in the music world and it wasn’t until after over a decade they decided to combine their passions for music and education into their partnership and collaboration. This merger birthed Youth Culture Power — their debut manuscript and sophomore album collaboration. Since the release of the book and album Youth Culture Power, Rawls and Robinson have been fulfilling their goals of sharing some of their practical and theoretical perspectives of Youth Culture Pedagogy with educators worldwide. Both have 25 years of experience in the music industry and traveling internationally, which lends greatly to their educator backgrounds. Dr. Jason Rawls is an Associate Professor of Instruction at The Patton College of Education at Ohio University, Dr. Rawls has co-written the first Hip-Hop Based Education program in a College of Education in the United States (H.O.P.E. Program). The program is a series of four courses rooted in Hip-Hop Based Education using both Culturally Relevant and Relational Pedagogy. Dr. Rawls is also the coordinator of the Brothers R.I.S.E. program at Ohio University. John Robinson has been a Teaching Artist in New York City Public Schools for over a decade and during that time has activated with classroom teachers in a co-teaching model all of the different innovative approaches that we reference in our work. Currently, Rawls and Robinson have released their second book “How Can I Move The Crowd? A Classroom Activity Handbook” and have been actively presenting at conferences doing Professional Development Workshops with teachers and administrators both in person and remotely nationwide.
Welcome to the Revolution
Many principles of teaching claim to be child-centered and culturally responsive, but to what culture are they referring? While cultural competence is fundamental when communicating with multicultural students and families, translating that awareness into instruction can pull a teacher and a classroom in several directions. What if one culture existed that spoke to all youth, regardless of racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic status? Our Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP) functions on the premise that we can reach all youth in the classroom by tapping into and collaborating with their unique culture—Youth Culture. Gving you a closer look at the fundamentals of YCP, Youth Culture Power exemplifies that the heart of this culture is hip-hop.
Hip-hop is more than a genre of music; it’s a lifestyle. Today, combined with pop culture and social media, that lifestyle speaks to and for several generations around the globe. It’s no coincidence that the innovators of this lifestyle and music continue to be our young people. What better way to reach them, than through something they inherently understand? As students of the culture and the music, we both recall learning timeless lessons about our history and the state of the world as we lived in it, through song. Correspondingly, we believe that YCP will maximize students’ full potential for success and promote lifelong engagement in learning. So how do we use this universal form of communication in the classroom? The first step is listening.
Building on the pillars of Marc Lamont Hill’s Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE); Dr. Christopher Emdin’s Reality Pedagogy; and seminal thought-leader of culturally relevant teaching Dr. Gloria Ladson - Billings’ Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Dr. Jason Rawls and John Robinson’s Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP) will add a pivotal, unexplored element to the ongoing revolution of education in urban schools. Their use of proven methods like integrating student-centered points of instruction and strengthening educators’ cultural competence is galvanized by their reframing and expanding of students’ cultural toolkits.