Hip Hop education is not new and more teachers in the U.S. are embracing it as a fun way to sustain the interest of their students in learning. Sammy Rigaud is one such HipHopEd whose Freestyle Friday session went viral on social media last November because many were fascinated by his concept of motivating his students with rap sessions.
In the Atlanta teacher’s class, all that the second graders in The Kindezi School at Old Fourth Ward needed to do was to score 80% or higher on their weekly assessment. They would then be given the chance to spit bars, a tool Rigaud said motivated everyone to do better in their assignments, affecting their overall performance in his class.
The clip of their Freestyle Friday sessions now has over 3.5 million views on Twitter and to date, other teachers and schools have also adopted such techniques to motivate their students.
Initially, authorities in the school were hesitant about his techniques but they came around when they noticed how the performance of the second graders had improved and the good publicity the viral video brought to their school.
30-year-old Rigaud is a Haitian-American native of North Miami, Florida who works and lives in Atlanta. He did not set out to be a teacher, however, he found his purpose in life when a judge ordered him to do community service at the local YMCA. He babysat for 40 children while their parents were being attended to. That was the moment he knew he wanted to teach.
His goal is to make everyone excel. His Christian faith also influences his way of life. According to Rigaud, he teaches his children to develop them wholly and not in a part.
Rigaud has been teaching for seven years and has published a book to motivate children not to give up on themselves. He believes Hip Hop Education is the channel these children need especially in a diverse landscape with people from varied backgrounds. The minority should have a voice and to Rigaud, Hip Hop is that platform that can bring the much-needed change.