Remix + Praxis: A Rapademic Approach to Critical and Culturally Relevant Education

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McGuire, Michael Douglas
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Mount Saint Vincent University
A decade ago, the province of Nova Scotia identified what it designated as achievement gaps—a significant disparity in scholastic performance for Black and Indigenous students relative to those of European descent as a result of longstanding Euro-centrism in educational spaces. This led to a number of calls for culturally relevant pedagogical approaches to be adopted as a means of combatting the negative trend. In the intervening years, however, educators have struggled to find ways to make this a reality. This dissertation makes use of a combined autoethnographic and songwriting-based method to detail the author’s efforts to bring his educational practices in line with culturally relevant and responsive pedagogies. Through a critical hip hop lens, a praxis-based method for curriculum development takes shape, presenting a pathway toward liberatory educational experiences that can be adapted to virtually any cultural context to the benefit of both teachers and students. Borrowing from the hip hop practice of remixing, the author outlines a method that gives educators an opportunity to continually reimagine and realign their curricula in a way that encourages student-centered critical education and adaptable curricular planning. While this dissertation outlines the author’s journey in coming to develop a hip hop-based pedagogy, it presents a praxis-based method that can be achieved through any number of approaches. While this is not presented as the definitive model for culturally relevant and responsive education, it offers an autoethnographic look at one way of attaining those goals.
Hip hop, rap music, Nova Scotia, education