Deconstructing Privilege When Students Resist: The Journey Back into the Community of Engaged Learners
Although college faculty sometimes write about their experiences with students’ resistance to material in courses that focus on privileges linked to social identity, this literature most often presents a single instructor’s perspective (e.g., Atwood, 2010; Chan & Treacy, 1996; Higginbotham, 1996). The following exploration considers themes of resistance across disciplines and multiple instructors’ experiences in diversity-themed courses. Drawing on interviews with teachers of such courses aimed at ﬁ rst-year students, as well as on our own teaching experiences, we identify three forms of resistance. In addition, we reﬂ ect on alternative ways to understand student resistance and offer strategies for addressing resistant behaviors to bring students back into the broader community of engaged learners. For faculty aiming to teach from an ally perspective, such strategies for working with and through student resistance may aid the goal of creating inclusive classrooms that minimize marginalization of groups and promotes productive dialogues.