Friday, September 10, 2010

Recent Topic: The Uses of Student Resistance.

Purpose of this blog: Review of interesting articles and ideas in English education journals, K-12.

Ten-second review: When students demonstrate resistance we need to listen to them. We will learn valuable lessons about teaching and human relationships.

Title: “Teaching, Learning and Resistance.” G Van de Kleut and C White. Language Arts (July 2010), 447-456.

Quote: “It seems clear to us that the way to make room for our own resistance and to honor the diversity of teacher practice, is to begin to publicly acknowledge and consider the resistance of our students. When we consider our own resistance, we are well aware that we do not want to be fined or punished by those who have power over our practices. We want to be heard and understood, and we want the institution in which we work to make room for our differences. We also want to be seen as individuals, people for whom a particular practice or situation needs to flex for particular reasons. In our experiences with students who resist, we have found that the same holds true.”

Quote: “If, as teachers, we can begin the dialogue that seeks to illuminate the limitations of our practices by learning from the resistance of our students, we may begin to open up a space to consider the resistance of teachers to the practices of the institution. If, on the other hand, we continue to marginalize those students who resist our practices, we are losing a valuable opportunity to make schools safe for all who resist—teacher and student alike.”

Comment: This is the second article I have read, summarized and commented on recently dealing with tension or resistance in the classroom. There is no question that the ideas expressed in these articles have something to say to me as a teacher. If I hadn’t locked horns with students over the years, if I had tried to find the source of their resistance, I might have made substantive changes in my teaching—and in my relationships with students. Rays.

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