UNION, NJ - Kean University adjunct professor Irisa Leverette, a resident of North Brunswick, helped her students learn algebra, through rapping. It was reported that Leverette's rapping has helped to encourage students to do homework, and reduced “math anxiety”.
“She’ll be in the middle of a lesson, start freestyling, drop the marker as if it’s a mic, and then go right back to the lesson as if nothing happened,” said Elijah Sherin, a freshman finance major from Long Branch. “She comes to every class excited to teach, so it makes us excited to come too.”
Leverette is a Kean alumna who earned her bachelor’s degree in management science in 1996 and her master’s degree in public administration in 2000. She has been teaching at the University since 2005.
College algebra is a math requirement for many students in various majors at Kean. Louis Beaugris, executive director of Kean’s School of Mathematical Sciences, said the University encourages professors to think beyond the whiteboard and slide presentation in their approach to teaching.
At Kean, professors are encouraged to be innovative and to engage students, to take the extra step to ensure that the students learn; and Professor Leverette is known to do that.
Leverette also uses technology in teaching. She posts math videos on her Facebook page. The rapping professor plans to use social media further by creating a YouTube channel. It was reported that Leverette's math videos have received close to 8,000 views on Facebook, and helped students in China, India, and elsewhere, as well as at Kean, she said.
“Social media is the 'real world,' and universities want students to have real-life experiences in the classroom,” she said. “Plus, students are so attached to their phones, it makes sense to utilize this technology in the classroom.”
And for good measure, she also uses her rap to remind students to continue learning at home.
Leverette raps. “Let it sink in, marinate. See you on Monday. Don't be late!”