Flocabulary: Helpful Tool Or Obvious Insult?

New educational program using Hip-Hop lyrics angers teachers in Oklahoma.

By: Taren Vaughan

Teaching kids the valuable information that they need to be successful is not an easy job to conquer. And it has become a much more difficult task to master in this day and age. With the emergence of social networks like Twitter and Facebook, picking up a book to read for fun has become a thing of the past for most students. Their main source of entertainment comes from watching those “informative” music videos and reality TV shows that keep them glued to the screen for hours on end. And in turn, the result of that is a lack of desire to learn anything school related. So what is the obvious solution to this problem? Come up with a program that involves lyrics.

The Oklahoma City Public School System is attempting to incorporate an educational program that involves using Hip-Hop and Rap as a way to reach youth who are not performing well in school. As this may seem like a good idea, the choice of words for the songs are not highly favored:

“Andrew Jackson thinks he’s a tough guy. Killing more Indians than there are stars in the sky. Evil wars of Florida killing the Seminoles. Saying hello, putting Creek in the hell holes. Like Adolf Hitler he had the final solution. ‘No, Indians, I don’t want you to live here anymore.”

So former President Jackson is comparable to a man who had no moral or compassionate bone in his body? Let me not leave out the one portion of the song where our Founding Fathers were referred to as “Old Dead White Men”. With lyrics like these, exactly how could this be considered a teachable moment? Sounds more like a bash session to me.

As one would expect, this new “educational phenomenon” has not went over well with a number of people, a good amount of them being actual teachers. I don’t really know how successful a program can be when the ones who are supposed to be teaching it aren’t even impressed with it. Despite their initial disapproval, CEO and co-founder of Flocabulary Alex Rappaport assured educators that the songs “are meant to be the beginning of the discussion, not the end.” If healthy debate is what Rappaport is hoping for from this program, chances are that won’t happen. Granted our country’s past is far from perfect picture. And there are things about it that may anger or upset students. But using these kinds of lyrics to deliver a message will do nothing but lead students to form negative opinions with only bits and pieces of information. And that can backfire tremendously.

It can be challenging to feed kids knowledge in a way that they will enjoy the material, most importantly understand it, especially those who are considered at-risk. But do we really have to resort to these types of tactics?

The purpose behind Flocabulary and other programs of similar background is a positive one. Like any other educational program, the creators are striving to help students learn and make the best of their time in school. One could even go on to say that using song lyrics was not a horrible idea either seeing as though Hip-Hop and Rap are and always have been a huge part of our culture. That is not at all where the problem lies. It’s all about the way in which you present the information. And to be quite honest, Flocabulary and programs similar can have a tendency to be extremely offensive at times. Nice try Mr. Rappaport. But I think we may just need to stick to the basics.

Source: Fox News

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