Conference Paper Student Storytellers: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Reconfiguration of English as Communication

Paper presented at the International Conference on English Across the Curriculum [EAC2015], Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.
This presentation documents the process and outcome of an initiative undertaken at a semi-bilingual public information-science university in Japan at which there are no English language classes per se. Within this learning context the tuition of English is conceptualized more broadly as “Communication”. The teacher is thus empowered with the freedom to implement more experimental pedagogies and practices within the classroom. Building from this point of departure details will be shared concerning a classroom project in which 50 students were guided through the process of creating their own bilingual (English and Japanese) Hip-Hop track. Starting from the use of English in storytelling to the use of English in teaching the technological aspects of creating the track using the Audacity software, the project utilized English as a medium of instruction and as the main language of production. In addition to project details and samples, student views concerning the role of English in the curriculum will be shared. It is suggested that in removing the formal burden of “learning English” amongst non-language majors and instead recasting English interactions as “Communication” that students are able to engage more confidently with content that stimulates, rather than tests, their English proficiency.

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