Coventry College “Hip-Hop” new Curriculum will get GCSE English Students Writing

With new academic standards demanding higher literacy expectations, and the digital age creating an ever decreasing attention span, many teachers are looking for ways to engage students more enthusiastically in reading and writing.

Dan Howe, an English teacher at Coventry College, has found that incorporating rap and hip-hop culture into the GCSE English curriculum can help foster students’ interest in reading and writing and develop the critical analysis skills necessary for the rigors of the new 1-9 GCSE specification.

The project sees members of Lincolnshire based rap group, The Collective (picture below), perform in the classroom for students to then analyse the language they use in their songs for literary devices and form.

“It provides a context which is interesting and engaging, particularly for students who are aspiring rappers themselves, in which to develop their critical analysis”, says Mr Howe. “Ultimately, students write and perform their own verses in class, with the help of the visiting rappers, which is also great for their confidence”.

The project is part of a college-wide initiative called What’s The Point, aimed at driving awareness of the importance of Maths and English alongside vocational courses, especially in terms of employability.
“This project is one example of how English has a practical application and can be cool. It generates a bit of enthusiasm for English”, says Mr Howe. “It’s still in the pilot stages but so far I have had very positive feedback from the students and it seems to be having a positive impact on their progress”.