Theses Doctoral

The Use of Battle Rap As a Way to Engage Students in STEM

Parker, Jamie Thomas

This qualitative, multi-case study examined the process of lyric creation and nontraditional modes of communication (using themes from hip-hop and battle rap) as a mechanism for developing a teaching and learning strategy in STEM education. This manuscript style dissertation, examines the experiences of 24 postsecondary students and five battle rappers who created science-themed lyrics, used them as a learning strategy, and delivered content in a college and community setting. Insights into teaching and learning were revealed through the study of these lyrics from a constructivist and intellectual warrior theoretical framework. This research showed that as a result of utilizing battle rap, learning spaces were improved. Students’ interviews, lyrics, and reflections uncovered that they appreciated the opportunity to be more creative in class were more engaged, communicated and networked more than they did in their traditional science classroom. The battle rappers discussed and displayed the characteristics that allow them to engage audiences in hopes that teachers can learn how to incorporate engaging techniques within their own classrooms. Through interviews and a performance, battle rappers’ attempt to keep students engaged revealed their transparency; ability to freestyle; get hyped; and demonstrate charisma, presence, character, and energy. This information helped to explain, describe, and understand the experiences of both students and battle rappers and their potential relationships to science and the community. This work supports arguments for the use of culture (art/music/experiences) through music in the science classroom.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Science Education
Thesis Advisors
Emdin, Christopher
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 24, 2020