Sunday, December 08, 2013

Blog 10: Reluctance and Resistance

            All educators must deal with reluctance and resistance. It is extremely common in every form of education, formal and informal. Many of the theorists we have read have been interested in pointing out the problems with the education system; the theorists point out that these problems tend to arouse sentiments that tend to lend themselves to worsening the learning of the student. Especially when the problems of power become apparent and the relationship between the teacher and the student is often when students begin to disengage. I have had experience with this in the writing center, and it has been one of the hardest things for me to face, as I have also been on the resisting and reluctant side of this issue, and I don’t know if my concerns were ever resolved nor that I can fully resolve any of the student’s. The best we can do is let them know that we are their advocate whether through our actions or through our
            The occasions when I most often experience reluctance and resistance in the tutoring center is when I am helping a student who feels that they are either forced to come to the writing center and don’t require any assistance and the students who feel that they have received or are receiving bad grades from a professor when they feel that they are superb writers. Often times, these students can be calmed down by just suggesting that there are things that we always need to work on, but there are many cases where the students are simply in a state of anger.
            It is often the case that when a student is experiencing this sort of anger or frustration, it is probably not going to result in an excellent tutoring session. Often times these students are combative or even, in many cases, withdrawn from the session. These are the students who will answer texts during a session, talk on the phone, stare at the wall, etc.
            I address combative behavior often by spending more time on single issues addressing the disputed points and giving the tutee credit where credit is due and explaining the concepts where it would be helpful. With disengaged students, I have taken the advice given by other tutors to mimic their behavior; I will sit back in my chair and wait for them. Oftentimes I decide that I might write that the student was actively disengaged during the session, but so far, the mimicking tactic has worked and brought tutees back into the session although I sometimes cannot change their attitude.

            I think the most important part is to respect them and know that they may be having a bad day or may be in over their head; however, respect for the tutee cannot override respect for ourselves as tutors. It is important to stand our ground and let students know that we are there for their benefit, not our own, despite what our paychecks say. I do think that genuine care for the tutees tends to be the game saver when a session seems to be taking a wrong turn or is coming under pressure. When the tutee senses that you genuinely want to help them do their best, I think they are very grateful and they have a very hard time continuing to be hostile. Overall, I think a mixture of these strategies can overcome these sentiments, and I hope that in the future the education system begins redesigning itself to not create them in the first place, granted some things are unavoidable.


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