cvonrenesse's blog

Blog Posts by Dr. Christine von Renesse


In this blog, Phil DeOrsey and Christine von Renesse describe ideas behind student resistance and student buy-in. A great resource is Tolman’s book “Why Students resist learning: A practical model for understanding and helping students”. He uses the Integrated Model of Student Resistance to explain how metacognition, cognitive development, negative classroom experiences, and environmental forces (work, family, culture/racism, disabilities) influence student resistance. It is tempting to think that student behavior only results from our facilitation during class but that is rarely the case.

There’s a famous line that many people use when they describe teaching. “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” I’ve always loved that quotation. I’ve tried to base my teaching style on it, like most teacher’s I’ve met or worked with have as well. But it wasn’t until recently that I actually knew what that meant. Or how powerful it can be.

Think of your class. What do you see? Do you see lethargic faces, students with their heads down, and only your top 10% answering your questions? Or do you see all students engaged; regardless of level? Do you see students talking about math in a productive argument? I can tell you that in just a few months, I have transformed my classroom from the first classroom example to the second.

Over the last years I have offered a course about inquiry-based learning to graduate students. These students are usually teachers that are working full-time in their own classroom while completing their professional licensure and master’s program. In this blog I will explain how I run the course and, more importantly, you can read about the journey to inquiry of two teachers that worked with me this semester.

In this blog we invite the reader to think deeply about professional development opportunities for faculty. The focus of this professional development is to improve teaching by including more inquiry in the mathematics classroom. Our hope is that faculty developing professional development will use some of our ideas to create new opportunities that lead to transformational change and deep conceptual learning about teaching.