Brookfield listed twenty three possible explanations of students resistance to learning. He starts out explaining factors that are student driven, i.e.: Poor Self-Image as Learners, then moves onto social factors, i.e: Cultural Suicide. Last he gives some examples of resistance to learning that are caused by teacher behaviour. Teachers and instructors often time feel a responsibility towards student engagement and success therefore they try to resolve the problem at hand. But the reality is that this is a multi layered phenomenon. Just like any “skeleton in the closet” it could be intimidating and could cause anxiety and discomfort to all involved. Admitting its existence and being able to talk about it openly could help to take the heat out of resistance. I can see how everybody’s situation and reasoning may be different. This is why I like his idea of providing examples of former students’ endeavours. This could be a service to our students who can learn about how others managed to overcome obstacles that may be similar to their own. He also talks about situations where, despite our best efforts, we must acknowledge and accept the students’ right to resist. At the time they are just not ready to learn something new. There are late bloomers who need more time to become successful in learning. I know this for a fact as I am one of them. Collecting such information could be done by dedicating an item to this topic on a Feedback Questionnaire.
Brookfield, S.D. (2006). The Skillful Teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. ( 2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.