By Kathleen Williams, student writer
Oakland University’s Dr. Emery Petchauer is an advocate of ‘edutainment’ and believes hip-hop can be at home in the classroom. His latest book, “Schooling Hip-Hop: Expanding Hip-Hop Based Education Across the Curriculum,” was released this May and focuses on creative ways of engaging students through concepts found in hip-hop culture.
“We all learn in different ways, based on our own experiences, and hip-hop is probably the most important cultural phenomenon of the last half century,” he said. “If you’re an educator, you should know about whatever it is that’s competing for a student’s mind or heart.”
Applying hip-hop to curriculum not as much about rapping in the classroom and dissecting lyrics as it is about applying some of the concepts that have made hip-hop such a distinct and resilient culture, Dr. Petchauer explained.
The assistant professor of teacher development and educational studies has been at Oakland for a year and teaches courses in both undergraduate and graduate programs in the School of Education and Human Services.
Dr. Petchauer said he applies hip-hop culture in his own classroom and explained its universal appeal.
“The lyrics and messages have endured over a decade and are still compelling across race, class and gender lines,” he said. “We can use hip-hop in education because it has much broader implications.”
His first book, “Hip-Hop Culture in College Students’ Lives: Elements, Embodiment and Higher Edutainment” was published in 2012 and is the first scholarly study of hip-hop integration on college campuses. In it, he examines concepts from hip-hop such as sampling, kinetic consumption and edutainment.
“Hip-hop is a culture that very much samples from things around it. It’s a combination of musical genres that includes jazz, funk, soul, rock and Brazilian music,” he explained. “Because it has that diverse characteristic, it’s going to very much connect to a diversity of topics and a diversity of people.”
Students, however, don’t have to be hip-hop fans to effectively learn through its concepts. According to Dr. Petchauer, hip-hop is felt first and that same affective engagement helps educators adapt a lesson to peak interest, a concept called kinetic consumption.
“An initial reaction is always a feeling. Thinking and feeling shouldn’t be dichotomous -- we should be engaging both at the same time,” he said. “If you’re feeling the material, learning is going to be a lot easier.”
Sampling, a concept in hip-hop culture where various aspects are combined to create a whole, also applies to education.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can bring all aspects of society into what we’re learning. There are many threads of society and we should be sampling from all aspects,” he said. “Hip-hop is not a self-contained unit and neither is learning.”
Prior to joining Oakland, Dr. Petchauer was an assistant professor at Lincoln University, where he received the Board of Trustee’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
His work has been published in a variety of places, including the Review of Educational Research, Urban Education, the Journal of Black Studies and the Journal of College Student Development.
Dr. Petchauer is also a regular contributor to The Academy Speaks blog for Diverse Issues in Higher Education and The Good Men Project, a site founded in 2009 to examine the definition of modern manhood.
For more information or to purchase Dr. Petchauer’s books, view his work at Amazon
or Barnes & Noble
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