Learning through Hip Hop

A surgeon shows, through functional MRI imaging, that during improvisation the brain is working on many important levels, unlike when someone is using memorized material. Creativity is a neurological process that can be measured and this experiment measured brain activity while musicians were playing or rapping – comparing improvised jazz keyboard playing and hip hop rapping. The experimental question was: What happens in the brain during something that’s memorized and over-learned, and what happens in the brain during something that is spontaneously generated, or improvised, in a way that’s matched motorically and in terms of lower-level sensory motor features?

So if the brain is engaged on many levels during improv vs memorizing, then students should not be memorizing content. Why invest precious classroom time in a strategy that simply does not benefit the student? This speaks to the importance of learning through creativity, self-direction and discovery.

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3 thoughts on “Learning through Hip Hop

  1. Ted talks are great aren’t they? Many of the talks confirm and validate our teaching philosophies and need to be shared with administration! Doesn’t this justify allowing creativity in the curriculum – in fact make it necessary for true learning? Thanks for your comment.

  2. Wendy – Thanks for sharing your Ted Talks. I love these. Some I have already shown to students. This one I am trying to think of how I can incorporate it in. I have already sent it to our Drama Teacher. I know she will use it. How fascinating. I love Ted Talks. My husband and I both teach at the same high school and some days we show the same talk on the same day without knowing it.

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