Last week I took the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) as credit for PIDP 3220. To be honest I had been procrastinating enrolling because I was terrified. Preparing lessons and presenting them to colleagues? What could be more nerve-racking than that?
Mostly because of the wonderful facilitator, the ISW was one of the best experiences of my teaching career. I met other passionate educators, honing their craft and best of all learned so much!
At the end of a very intense four days, we each selected from a stack of educational quotes, one saying that reflected our pedagogical beliefs. I picked:
“…we teach what we love. Isn’t that a major part of what’s caused us to become teachers in the first place? We want to spend our life helping others experience the pleasure we experienced as students as we became more knowledgeable and skilled in the discipline we find so fascinating.”
I knew it was by Brookfield, but I didn’t expect the lines to be included in the chapter on “Understanding Students’ Resistance to Learning”. Among the reasons Brookfield lists for students resisting learning are poor image as learners, fear of the unknown, a normal rhythm of learning, a disjunction of learning and teaching styles, apparent irrelevance of the learning activity, inappropriate level of learning, fear of looking foolish in public, cultural suicide, lack of instructor clarity, students’ dislike of teachers, and going to far, to fast (p. 218-225).
I found this chapter helpful, because I remembered it isn’t all about me. Sometimes I need to stop taking it personally and consider the learner’s perspective. That being said, as the next chapter explains, there can be ways to respond to students’ resistance to learning in a fruitful way.
It’s funny, in art history some of the best work has come from struggle, where art has emerged from the resistance. Maybe resistant students will make me work harder, become more reflective and improve.
Maybe some of the most beautiful learning will emerge from a place of resistance.