I had opportunity recently to read and discuss Suad Nasir’s 2004 article on resistance theory and the educational response to the behaviour. I was initially drawn to the article by its title, ‘Halal-ing the Child’, anticipating work in a diverse learning community. The summary and reflection, which follows, has been adapted from discussions in my literature circle.
Suad Nasir, N. (2004). Halal-ing the Child: Reframing Identities of Resistance in an Urban Muslim School. Harvard Educational Review , 74 (2) Summer 2004, online: http://www.hepg.org/her/abstract/61.
Summary / Abstract
This article extends the body of knowledge on the resistance theory of education and institutional responses to individual students actions. Resistance behavior occurs when a student rejects the values, practices and social expectations/norms of a school or classroom. While the intensity and frequency of resistance varies, the author suggests that it is ubiquitous in education. The research presented here aims to isolate and better understand through case study the role of a school as an institution in responding to resistance from one particular student. The paper argues that the school can influence how teachers and staff react to resistant behavior through the development and nurturing of positive ideational artifacts. While recognizing the limitations of the research – particularly in establishing causality and isolating the root causes of the students behavior – Suad Nasir notes that the dynamic of resistance is co-created by the school and individual. The paper presents ideational artifacts as a theoretical concept, useful in informing how schools and its teachers conceive of and present themselves, particularly in addressing student resistance.
Reflections on the Article
This article presents an important perspective on the role of a school and teacher in supporting and nurturing its learners. I was particularly interested from a management perspective in how a mission statement of a school can be a positive influencing factor in how faculty and staff conceive their relationship and interactions with their students.
 Ideational artifacts refer to the elements of identity that are derived from over-arching ideas and culture.