This week’s readings from Stephen Brookfield’s The Skillful Teacher were enlightening for me. The readings were on understanding and responding to students’ resistance to learning (Brookfield, 2015). While reading I could easily picture students in my classes and hear their statements of resistance as well as my own. I teach a lot of required courses for all the business schools’ students such as introductory accounting and finance. Brookfield discussed the need to reflect on ones’ own resistance to learning and that the resistance can be justified (Brookfield, 2015, p. 215).
In responding to students’ resistance, I believe it is very helpful for me to reflect on my own experience of resisting to learning (Brookfield, 2015, p. 222). I have very clear memory of one workshop I attended, and I could not see or understand the value of the activity and I become resistant to learning. The instructor observed my resistant body language and tried to engage and help me in the activity. She asked me questions directly instead of asking the group. I become embarrassed for being singled out and my resistance stronger. By the end I was told I needed to choose a better attitude.
The statement about choosing your attitude always makes me think about the clips I have seen of the FISH! Philosophy training video. The original video is about the fish mongers at Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle. (Fish Philosophy, 2018). The video is not available, but here is another one from the Fish Philosophy choose your attitude.
Reflecting on my own learning experiences I am better able to respond to students’ resistance. Especially remember what not to say or react to resistant students. I can share my experience of taking required courses and how I chose to be engaged and successful. I will continue to use examples from my own work experience to show how understanding accounting can help them in their careers. It is also important to know at what point to stop trying to convince a resistant student of the benefits of the class.