PIDP 3260 Week 5 Blog

Brookfield Chapter 16, “Understanding Student’s Resistance to Learning”

“Trying to understand why and how students resist learning is probably something I’ve spent more time pondering than any other facet of my life as a teacher. For someone like me who tends to assume that everything that happens in the classroom is my responsibility, encountering student resistance is particularly troubling.” (Brookfield, 2015)

In this chapter, Brookfield covers many scenarios of students resisting learning.

A chapter summary:

  • Try to sort out the causes of resistance
    • Fear of change?
  • Ask yourself if the resistance is justified
    • Institutional policy?
  • Research your student’s backgrounds
    • Cultural, experience, ability, learning style?
  • When appropriate involve students in educational planning
    • Feasability?
  • Use a variety of teaching methods and approaches
    • Media?
  • Assess learning incrementally
    • Consequences for resistance are made clear as early as possible?
  • Check that your intentions are clearly understood
    • Expectations, agenda and rationales clear as possible?
  • Build a case for learning
    • Importance of skills learned?
  • Create situations in which students succeed
    • eg. Failure-proof task in first class
  • Don’t push too fast
    • Rhythm of learning
  • Admitting the normality of resistance
    • Formative student feedback?
  • Limiting the negative effects of resistance
    • Involving former resistors?
    • Role model?
    • Don’t force learning

I think the best advice was at the end of the chapter, where Brookfield suggests giving the hard-core resistors a group project together outside of the classroom. Good way to manage the classroom, in my opinion.

So chapter 16 has shed a little light on how I and other students have felt at times. We can be cranky, and sometimes there is little the instructor can do about it. But as an instructor who sees a small minority of rebellious students, I don’t want to fall into the vortex of Conversional Obsession.*

So yeah, thanks Brookfield, for showing me the way. I can accept the fact that every student is an individual with different reasons for being in the class. I pledge to become a little softer and gentler. And less sarcastic.

*  Conversional obsession is where the instructor becomes obsessed with converting a minority hardcore resistance-to-learn group into better students. This may be a pitfall for some instructors, as successfully converting resistors could be equitable to being a successful instructor.(Brookfield,2015)

Comment on an aspect of professional ethics. Does your field have a Code of Ethics? Does your workplace have a Policies and Procedures manual?

“A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization’s core values and the standards to which the professional is held”

Ethics are an important consideration whenever making an organizational decision. All stakeholders should always be considered.

My field of expertise, industrial instrumentation, is governed by Worksafe BC, ISA ethical standards, and specific workplace policies covering respectful workplaces and safety.

My particular workplace, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, has a set of policies that govern ethics.

Below is an excerpt from  Policy 1504 – Standards of Conduct and Conflict/Interest Policy

General Standards of Conduct

The conduct of employees must not bring the Institute into disrepute. Accordingly, employees must avoid situations which violate the standards of conduct policy or result in a public perception that a violation has occurred. If an employee becomes involved in such a situation, the employee must disclose the matter to the direct manager and remedy it immediately.

The conduct and language of employees in the workplace are expected to meet acceptable social standards. Employees in dealing with other persons in the workplace are to treat them with respect and dignity and to refrain from exploiting a work relationship for private advantage or benefit.

3. Confidentiality

Employees shall not divulge information received through their position or office which is not available to the general public unless prior authorization is given for its release. Where an employee has reason to believe that there exists a contravention of the law, a waste of BCIT funds or assets, or a danger to public health or safety, the employee shall bring the matter to the attention of the President through normal Institute channels, or directly if necessary. Where this does not resolve the matter, a complaint should be made in writing to the Board of Governors


Self Assessment of Blog to date

Use rubric, out of 5 marks, write a short rationale. Submit self assessment in the assignment submission area in Assignment 3

4.25/5.00   Level 3:

[ X ]   The blog postings demonstrate the author’s solid breadth and depth of thinking regarding ALL of the assignment topics

[ X ]  Contributions are weekly and reflect ideas and content outlined in the assignment

[ X ]  A range of media is evident throughout the blog

[ X ]  The writing is articulate, sophisticated and precise. A few mechanical errors are noted.

[ X ]  The blog has a professional look and feel

[ X ]  Creative commons logo is present



Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.




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