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Contribution to Book
Resistance Is Fertile: (Or Everything I Know about Teaching I Learned in Yoga Class) (Chapter 23)
Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, Volume One: Essays and Workbook Activities
  • Robert Schroeder, Portland State University
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
  • Information literacy -- Study and teaching,
  • Academic libraries -- Relations with faculty and curriculum,
  • Information resources -- Evaluation -- Study and teaching,
  • Critical pedagogy
Looking at yoga from the outside, it seems like it’s about trying to contort yourself into awkward pretzel shapes. But from the inside, it is really about the awareness that arises when you try to ease your body into scary and unusual places. Does this sound a little like reflective teaching? Be aware of discomfort, the resistance to discomfort, and even the resistance to being aware of discomfort—we can use this awareness in our classrooms just as we do on the yoga mat. What if we envision our class organically, as if it were a body moving through different postures? Some parts are working really well, but other parts aren’t. In order to improve, we need to look at what isn’t working, what feels uncomfortable, and what we constantly turn away from. By consciously looking toward the resistance, we may find that this refocusing will begin to ease the discomfort. Our stopping to gaze creates a pause, a space we can enter. Now we can make adjustments to what we’re doing in order to make things work better. In my own practice (in my classroom), I’ve found that often the unease or resistance I feel comes from students—and I often react by resisting their resistance! But I can choose to look at the students and their push-back as an ally in creating better instruction rather than as a hindrance to be ignored. It’s scary, and each time I have to breathe deep and trust my practice, but this reflection on what students are doing and saying, or not doing and not saying, helps me to be a better critical pedagogue. In engaging with their resistance, I begin to share the teaching role with the students, and I become more of a student myself.

This is the final published version of the chapter.

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Citation Information
Schroeder, R. (2016). "Resistance Is Fertile: (Or Everything I Know about Teaching I Learned in Yoga Class)" in Pagowsky, N., & McElroy, K. (2016). Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, Volume One: Essays and Workbook Activities. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, p. 213-216.