“Encountering student resistance is particularly troubling” (Brookfield, 2015, Pg. 213).
On the first page, in the first paragraph, of chapter 16 in Brookfield’s The Skillful Teacher, I read the quote above, shortly followed by, “I assume that student resistance arises from something I’ve done or said.” One paragraph in and I knew this was going to be a great chapter. I encounter student resistance all the time, and I continually ask myself what I am doing, or not doing to engage or motivate the students. I never understood the reasons for a student to resist learning something new and exciting. This chapter brought a whole lot of clarity and relief to the situation. It feels good knowing I am not the only one that has discouraging thoughts towards student resistance, and if I am contributing to it. Understanding that it can be caused by factors that are completely out of our control, is definitely a reassuring feeling. I believe the most common form of resistance amongst our students is the fear of the unknown, and apparent irrelevance of the learning activity. Our trade is pretty diverse, it consists of industrial, architectural, HVAC, stainless, field work, shop work, and office work. At our school, we teach a little bit of everything. A lot of students work in one area of the trade for some time, and do not think they will ever move into another one. This causes them to believe any information regarding anything else is useless, or a waste of time. We try to stress the importance being skilled in all areas, because you never know what the future holds, but the battle is seldom won.
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.