The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

African American male teachers and African American students: Working subversively through hip-hop in three urban schools

Robert Simmons, Robert Carpenter, Johnetta Ricks, Dara Walker, Marquin Parks, Marcellus Davis


Through subversive practices that run counter to district-mandated curriculum, and in defiance of hyperaccountability and hyperstandardization, many African American male teachers embrace a revolutionary spirit in their classrooms. While the voices of African American male teachers have not been given adequate attention in discussions of teaching and learning, their experiences in this paper author a narrative that considers their commitment to improving both the educational experience and social conditions of African American students. In an effort to answer this challenge, a qualitative study of 10 African American male teachers pedagogical usage of hip-hop was explored. As each of the participants’ pedagogical practices ran contrary to the expressed desires of the school administration and district administration this paper reveals the ways in which they navigated administrative infatuation with hyperaccountability, hyperstandardization, and in the words of one participant, “a fascist regime built on intimidating teachers.” Through one-on-one interviews with the teachers, this paper presents a compelling argument for their pedagogical strategies but also utilizes the challenges they faced to help others combat oppressive school climates rooted in administrative intimidation and threat.


Urban education; African American teachers; hip hop

Full Text: