Ch. 16 - Understanding Students' Resistance to Learning
Have you ever seen this face and body language in your class? Hopefully not but most likely so. I enjoyed reading the chapter and have picked out a few passages to comment on.
"the ground zero of resistance to learning is the fear of change." p.213
"In the face of what appear to students as unreasonable teacher demands, pedagogic misjudgments, broken teacher promises, or clear incompetence, resistance to learning is often principled and justified." p.215
"Second, and even more troubling, in enthusiastically accepting the challenge the resistant students have offered you, all your efforts are poured into converting a relatively small number of individuals to being enthusiastic advocates of learning. Along the way the legitimate learning needs of the majority of students take second place to your efforts to prove to yourself that by winning over hardcore resisters that you're a real teacher." p.216-217
This is a good thing to remember. Basically I read this as check your ego and don't get distracted to change one persons' view while hurting the majority of the students' learning experience. I have experienced this is class and it is usually the loudest student, so is difficult at times. I don't ignore the student, I address and then try to move forward as a class. Does anyone else have experiences like this? What did you do?
I really enjoyed page 218. There is a paragraph half way on the page that talks about the effect of a clear, calm and supportive style of teaching. I feel this is what I try to do as I have a nurturing style as my main goal is to prepare the students to be safe in clinical. I expect them to make mistakes but with the mistakes comes learning. In the same paragraph - the above style "underscored the importance of appropriate teacher disclosure, the importance of sequencing instruction, and the need to provide sufficient scaffolding for learners early on in a learning effort." Something never to forget. This emphasis to me the importance, once again of relationships!
"People will generally resist activities for which they see no justification." p.221 I saw this happen in one of the classes in the program for a specific activity. I could hear the students grumbling and not feeling happy about their product. It allowed me to look at the activity and I agreed that the task was too time consuming, the students were not getting the intended value from the exercise, and it was making them frustrated and stressed. The following year I took out the activity and the class has not had an issue since regarding activities. Student feedback is so important. I could have dug my heels in and said lets keep doing it but I realize it wasn't about me it was about maximizing the learning for the students and this task wasn't doing the job. Back to the drawing board. I also realized it is ok to try something and if doesn't work try something new. You must be willing and able to make changes in the classroom!
"Teachers in love with their subjects and caught up in the passion of communicating the elegant beauty of scientific reasoning, literary insight, or historical theorizing can easily overestimate how far, too fast, for their students have progressed." p.222
I have noticed this before as well, and have been caught up in it by setting expectations too high.
"misdiagnosing where students are in their command of skills and knowledge and pushing them into a task before they feel they've been adequately prepared." p. 224 Assuming the students will scaffold quicker on what they have already learned. I have since realized that some students will and others won't but that's ok. Each student will learn at a different pace but it is my job to help guide them. The key is setting appropriate outcomes at the beginning of the course.
"To receive unclear instructions for a task or assignment is to feel that you're being set up for failure." p.223 I couldn't agree more with this statement. I have also experienced being a teacher and having to be the face of the instructions and not really understanding them as well, while taking someone else course/vision on. I have learned to keep it simple, repeat instructions, have the students communicate to me what they think the task is, answer questions and never assume!
Fear of looking foolish in public - I think almost everyone feels this at one point or another. We have helped alleviate some of this by making some of our labs one on one giving the students the privacy and attention they need. The feedback on this has been fantastic as all students want more time like this and enjoy getting to know the instructors on a different level , while getting all their questions answered in privacy. Once again building relationships!
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher: on technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. Jossey-Bass.
Image retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2015/03/03/engaging-student-resistance-works-better-punishment/ on April. 26,2017.