Behaviour as communication: counter-stories of resistance and dignity work

Zinnia Mevawalla*, Kathy Cologon, Jacqueline Hayden, Fay Hadley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The words “behaviour” and “resistance” often conjure up fear-invoking images that prevent us from reflecting on what it is that we, as educators, understand behaviour to mean. In this article, we use resistance theory to rethink behaviour as communication by counter-storying one observation of resistance involving children and teachers in India. Offering parallel interpretations of this experience, we unpack how resistance as “dignity work” requires us to listen and respectfully re-engage with children and ourselves. We conclude by exploring pedagogical possibilities and the need for preserving our dignity and shared humanity when reflecting on (our own and children’s) behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-302
Number of pages18
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021


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