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Resistance and Learning in Media & Gender Literacy Classes

Elizaveta Friesem

Resistance is a known component of social justice classes, and it is often seen as impeding learning. The current case study explored possible scenarios of resistance in classrooms where media representations of gender are discussed, and teachers’ reactions to such resistance. Methods used for collecting data included observations in U.S. high school classes as well as interviews with teachers and their students. Findings suggest that instructors in media and gender literacy classrooms might choose to ignore students’ resistance because they see it as an obstacle for learning. At the same time, students’ resistance does not necessarily mean instructors’ failure. The findings also suggest that resistance in media and gender literacy classes can be both open and subtle, and may be combined with learning. This case study provides opportunities for reflection on the value of recognizing resistance and promoting the importance of a civil dialogue about controversial social issues. 


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