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Breaking the Norm: Hip-Hop and Education in Taiwan

by Tarryn Lua

BlackAsiaMagazine talks to the talented Miles Matthew Wainwright Iton. Miles is a hip-hop artist and educator in Taiwan. Many people also know him as the rapper and hip-hop lyricist, Irie Givens. When Irie isn’t spittin’ rhymes, he’s teaching them. By using hip-hop as a teaching method, Miles is breaking conventional teaching methods in Asia and provides a more creative and expressive approach to EFL learning. He gave BlackAsiaMagazine firsthand insight on how his hip-hop English classes came about.

Intelligent, talented and creative are some of the many words I’d use to describe Miles. We met up at Coca Coffee in Zhubei City, where we discussed hip-hop , culture and education.

Miles completed his studies in Florida where he attended hip-hop English composition programs. He is a Fulbright Alumni from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, graduating from the school of Creative Industries and Design. He applies his unique education to the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom setting here in Taiwan by designing hip-hop based curriculum.

Talking to Miles was a refreshing experience. Anyone who knows what it’s like teaching in Asia, knows that it can be a monotonous job. What better way to learn English than through hip-hop?

As the founder of two companies- Lo-Fi Language and n.e.Bodied Entertainment– he promotes hip-hop through education and multimedia production.

Taiwan has a “blueprint” to be a bilingual nation by the end of 2030. Miles’s research brings an interesting dimension to EFL and Bilingual education, by combining art, “black” culture and hip-hop culture which could be a forerunner for the initiative.

When he’s not teaching or working on his research, you can find him performing around Taiwan as well known rapper, Irie Givens. He’s performed in the states and, you can see him at many music events around Taiwan.

For more information on Miles and his endeveaours check out: https://www.nebodiedent.org/

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