Teaching Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom Through Hip-Hop – WSOC TV


The role of cultural relevance in education is an increasingly important aspect in the classroom. Academic performance will ultimately determine a student’s future.

In the high pressure, high stakes learning classroom, teachers are creative in building relationships with their students.

A Charlotte educator and self-proclaimed hip-hop lover uses music to help engage and empower children in the classroom.

“I want to show people that hip-hop can be used for positive reasons to basically destigmatize people’s thoughts on hip-hop,” said David Spellmon Jr.

Spellmon implements behavior management programs and is the author of “Just Like Music; Social and emotional learning inspired by hip-hop.

He found that there was no socio-emotional learning program that was culturally appropriate or culturally relevant for children of color.

“Using hip-hop is an easy way to reach a lot of our black and brown youth,” he said.

Each chapter in the book takes a hip-hop song lyric and then links it to social and emotional learning skills, but the activities then build the skills with the student.

“The activity in each chapter then ties together the skills we want them to develop, goal setting, conflict resolution, improving their self-efficacy, showing them that you can mirror these two,” a he declared.

One chapter focuses on building responsible decision-making muscles with a saying from Biggie Smalls: “Beef is only good when you’re in the burger business. “

“Beef is basically an ongoing problem between two people or two groups of people. Beef potentially puts not only you, but the people you care about, too, ”he said.

The lesson plan in this chapter helps the educator and the student have a conversation about determining the potential consequences of being in control versus not being in control.

“In the school system, and I will say mainly in high school, there are a lot of fights. There is a lot of violence. Lots of aggressive behavior, so the chapters that talk about conflict resolution really resonate with the students, ”Spellmon said.

He hopes that culturally competent teachers will teach the program in a way that is relevant and appropriate to students’ collective standards and experiences.

“When we talk about equity, we have to give each person what they specifically need to be successful,” he said. “We have seen what happens when the current practices and policies are in place. There is disproportion.

Studies show that black students are almost four times more likely to be suspended than white students and almost twice as likely to be expelled.

This same Yale Child Study Center includes touchpoints explaining why these disparities may exist: implicit bias.

“When we put in place the current practices and policies, there is a disproportionate suspension and low literacy rates, so we have to do something different,” he said. “You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. “

The education of educators is essential in its process.

“We need to change the mindset of educators, mainly the administration,” he said. “If you don’t feel that the students are capable of doing great things, it shows in your actions. “

The end result is to forge a stronger relationship between teacher and student, based on dignity and authenticity, where they not only learn the lessons, but grow as individuals.

As you browse the book, each chapter includes the words in bold “YOU HAVE GREATNESS IN YOU. “

“Educators across the country are looking for the answer on how to create better relationships with students,” Spellman said. “It uses hip-hop to build and strengthen all the relationships on campus, and I hope the students excel behaviorally and academically. “

If you have an inspiring story, please contact Kevin Campbell, Public Affairs Manager for WSOC-TV / WAXN-TV / Telemundo Charlotte, at [email protected]


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