— Erica B. (@ericabuddington) August 25, 2017
A long time ago, someone (do you kids know who KRS-One is?) said that rap is “edutainment,” meaning that it could be used to educate as much as it could to entertain. We’ve seen this in practice a few times; recently a Harvard Student turned in his thesis as a rap album, and a great many songs, such as Nas’ “I Can,” have been used to try to convey life lessons to the youth. However, Erica Buddington, a sixth grade teacher at Capital Preparatory Schools in Harlem, New York, has taken the concept one step further in a story reported by Buzzfeed.
Seeing that her kids loved “Bodak Yellow,” the infectious Cardi B jam that’s currently running rampart on the charts, as they continued “beating on tables during instructions” in class, but “were at a low proficiency” for subjects like Geography and History, she decided to remix the chart-topper into an educational bop.
While acknowledging that “the song is not age-appropriate, there’s nothing we can do about that. It’s really a mental game and it’s a blast for students for retaining information,” she reasoned. Revamping the hook and one of the verses with lyrics like, “It’s second to the Earth’s biggest continent: it’s Asia,” Buddington noticed that her students’ enthusiasm — and grades — increased over a relatively short time, with some even reciting the lyrics under their breath during exams to help them recall the correct answers.
Buddington’s remix and video have gone viral across social media channels, with over 51,000 retweets so far, but more importantly, her class this year showed a 32% bump in proficiency on a map quiz — from to a previous 60% to 92%. Cardi herself took notice, retweeting the video herself and adding, “OMMMMMMMMMGGGGG I LOVE THIS I NEED THIS FOR MY IG!!!” With the approval of the rising star herself, and a proven record off success, hopefully Buddington’s model can be applied by more teachers in more subjects to finally make learning truly fun for kids.