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Confronting Resistance: Sonny's Blues and Mine

Confronting Resistance: Sonny's Blues and Mine Confronting Resistance: Sonny’s Blues — and Mine Arlene Wilner Few of us would deny that a capacity for thoughtful and often uncomfortable negotiation between ideas that one already holds closely and new or different perspectives that a text might offer is crucial to mature literacy, but the devil is in the details of how to foster such critical thinking. During the semester that prompted this essay, there were three instances in which some of my developmental composition students responded to texts in such self-centered, such willfully naive ways that, instead of interpreting or even shedding light on the text, they appeared simply to defy it. The most troubling and disorienting moment came when most of the male students in one of my sections refused to read, let alone write about, an assigned short story that charts the emotional growth of its homosexual pro- tagonist. Never in my teaching career had students refused, on principle, to do the assigned reading. Despite my many years of experience, I was stunned by this intense reaction, the more so because I had led an uneventful discus- sion of the same story with a different, more heterogeneous group of students earlier that morning. My http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Pedagogy Duke University Press

Confronting Resistance: Sonny's Blues and Mine

Pedagogy , Volume 2 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Copyright
© 2002 Duke University Press
ISSN
1531-4200
eISSN
1533-6255
DOI
10.1215/15314200-2-2-173
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Confronting Resistance: Sonny’s Blues — and Mine Arlene Wilner Few of us would deny that a capacity for thoughtful and often uncomfortable negotiation between ideas that one already holds closely and new or different perspectives that a text might offer is crucial to mature literacy, but the devil is in the details of how to foster such critical thinking. During the semester that prompted this essay, there were three instances in which some of my developmental composition students responded to texts in such self-centered, such willfully naive ways that, instead of interpreting or even shedding light on the text, they appeared simply to defy it. The most troubling and disorienting moment came when most of the male students in one of my sections refused to read, let alone write about, an assigned short story that charts the emotional growth of its homosexual pro- tagonist. Never in my teaching career had students refused, on principle, to do the assigned reading. Despite my many years of experience, I was stunned by this intense reaction, the more so because I had led an uneventful discus- sion of the same story with a different, more heterogeneous group of students earlier that morning. My

Journal

PedagogyDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2002

References