A mixed methods study of the impacts and processes of a technology-mediated culturally relevant after-school program on urban elementary youth’s motivation to read
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Heterogeneity is the norm in United States schools today. Children grow up within culturally situated environments that influence how they present themselves, interpret experiences, and understand the world around them. Because of this fact, cultural discontinuity can take place between schools, communities, and home cultures. A schism has grown between in-school and out-of-school culture for minority children. The unofficial curricula of urban music and hip-hop culture now compete with traditional learning settings such as schools, community centers, and churches. This study reported herein was grounded in culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) theory which theorized that minority children’s self-perception and value for school work would increase in a learning context that was collaborative, authentically assessed, and culturally sensitive. This current study employed the three elements of culturally relevant pedagogy theory in a 4-week hip-hop-based sound engineering class. Participants worked collaboratively to make an academic hip-hop music CD. Participants transformed science and math related books into rap songs. Digital audio workstation technology (DAW) was used to record the participants’ songs. The participants included eighty-seven 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade participants at Oak Street Elementary School with a predominately Latino and African American population demographic. The Motivation to Read Profile (MRP) scales were administered on day one and the final day of this summer-based after school program. This instrument tapped participant’s self-perception of reading and value of reading. The 51 intervention participants and the 36 control group participants received the MRP scales. Three sources of qualitative data were used. These qualitative data were triangulated and converged with the results of their MRP means. The qualitative data sources included photo-elicited interviews, 10-second video clips, and a participant-learning journal. Using a paired samples t test, results indicated no statistically significant difference between the intervention groups’ pretest and their posttest scores on the MRP scales. Based on an independent samples t test, there was a statistically significant difference found between the intervention group’s posttest scores and the control group’s posttest scores in favor of the control group. However, the qualitative data indicated high levels of reading motivation. Participants claimed that the use of hip-hop culture during the intervention made reading fun, authentic, and collaborative.