Finding Relevancy

person laying with boombox speakers at feet
unsplash-logoEric Nopanen

Fostering relationships is key to working with students. I do not think many people would debate that. The next part is finding engagement and relevancy. Engagement is one of the hardest things to measure in all education. Students can look engaged and not be engaged in anything but their own thoughts. The key is to find something that is relevant to them. Engagement and meaningful learning will certainly follow.

When working with teenagers, especially in our information-heavy society, there are hundreds of different interests in a class of thirty students, but usually, there are a few things that bring the class together. One of those items can be music.

I recently came across this amazing website that has done an analysis of hip-hop artists and their vocabularies. So, what if we started to look at items like music, podcasts, and television through a different lens? What if we started to use it as a vessel in which to study language usage, trends, and techniques? Something like pop-culture poetry that our students are already connected with. Would we see growth in understanding, usage, etc? Could we challenge them to seek out and apply the knowledge of grammar to these items? I understand the point of studying the classics, but what if the classics have started to change. Can we stay with the times? I am not saying that RZA is more important than Shakespeare or Twain, but our students might find more relevancy with music approached as poetry, while still being exposed to the necessities for learning.

I think that finding something that our students are interested in will help our students succeed, and this might be an extremely easy step into that world.

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