This study investigates student reasons for resisting engagement with school in a rural Appalachian area. The concept of student resistance to school is considered within a White, working-class student population. Through classroom observations, students displaying resistant behaviors were selected to participate in interviews. Coding of interview data and comparisons with observation data resulted in three main themes: family values and expectations, quality and relevance of education, and misunderstandings between teachers and students. These themes underscore the various tensions experienced by students whose schools encourage higher education and abstract concepts, but whose parents encourage values of family and vocational work. Thus, the students do not value the education provided by the school, leading to disengagement and misunderstandings with teachers. The article includes implications and recommendations for schools to reverse the negative perception of resistance and use student resistance as a conversation for critical change.


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pp. 37-49
Launched on MUSE
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