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  • Writer's pictureThomas Doggett

Where the Streets Have No Name

I had an amazing day as a teacher. I played Where the Streets Have No Name by U2 for my students as part of their daily Listening Journal. As with every Listening Journal entry, I gave them a little biographical information about the band and then played the song. After they listened to it, I asked them what they thought. In all four classes, I heard the same responses: "It's ok but I couldn't relate to the beat or the singer's voice." "That's ok" I said, "this song is 30 years old and I know you may not relate to the style of music but what about the words?" Some kids said they were sad and some said they were inspiring. Then I said: "Let's take a break from the song for a second and I want you to think about the neighborhood you're from or where your family lives. What would I know about you if you told me the street that you lived on?" Some boys quickly raised their hands and other boys reluctantly raised their hands. They said things like: "You'd know that I'm poor" or "You'd know my gang affiliation" and "You'd know I lived in a bad neighborhood." "Now," I said "let's look at these words again: I want to run, I want to hide, I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside." I asked them, "What if you lived in a town where the streets had no names and no one could make an assumption about you based on where you live? Now can you relate to this song? That's when their heads started to nod. Teaching is about connecting. Music is about connecting. Connect.

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