Make Me!

Make Me! Understanding and Engaging Student Resistance in School

Eric Toshalis
cloth, 368 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-762-0
Price: 70.00

Add to Cart

paper, 368 Pages
Pub. Date: February 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-761-3
Price: 35.00

Add to Cart

Pub. Date: February 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-763-7
Request an Examination Copy

In this groundbreaking book, Eric Toshalis explores student resistance through a variety of perspectives, arguing that oppositional behaviors can be not only instructive but productive. All too often treated as a matter of compliance, student resistance can also be understood as a form of engagement, as young people confront and negotiate new identities in the classroom environment. The focus of teachers’ efforts, Toshalis says, should not be about “managing” adolescents but about learning how to read their behavior and respond to it in developmentally productive, culturally responsive, and democratically enriching ways.
Noting that the research literature is scattered across fields, Toshalis draws on four domains of inquiry: theoretical, psychological, political, and pedagogical. The result is a resource that can help teachers address this pervasive classroom challenge in ways that enhance student agency, motivation, engagement, and academic achievement.
The coauthor of Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators (Harvard Education Press, 2006), Toshalis blends accessible explanations of theory and research with vignettes of interactions among educators and students. In Make Me!, Toshalis helps teachers perceive possibility, rather than pathology, in student resistance.


With poignance and skill, Toshalis shepherds educators away from yearning for prescriptive classroom management heuristics to spaces where they embrace the ‘remaking’ of themselves in their journey to serve, build, and respond to the humanity of students. Make Me! is a pre-service and in-service teacher education gem that will surely improve the way classroom management is taught, understood, operationalized, and practiced, — H. Richard Milner IV, Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education, University of Pittsburgh

Eric Toshalis offers a research-based, humanistic, and enlightened perspective and alternative that every school counselor, teacher, and administrator should read. — Angela Valenzuela, professor in educational administration, University of Texas at Austin

Toshalis bears witness to the charged relationships between teachers and adolescents, making sense of the frustrating dynamics of resistance through a range of thoughtful perspectives. His smart, empathic, and actionable synthesis breathes new life into the national conversation about school and classroom culture. — Kathleen Cushman, cofounder, What Kids Can Do

This text offers a thorough examination of issues related to students demonstrating challenging behaviors and resistance in today’s school system... Educators, administrators, and ancillary personnel will find this text extremely insightful and, after reading it, will perhaps begin a reexamination of current professional dispositions and practices in working with students from diverse backgrounds. — G. Moreno, Choice, October 2015

Make Me! challenges our views of student resistance and forces us to examine our responses toward it while promising that both teachers and students will be better off for the effort. As educators, we come away knowing that our mission is to change the culture of the school and the classroom, not to attempt to change the student.  — Stacie DeFreitas, Teachers College Record

Make Me! deserves strong consideration by all parties concerned about the education of students from diverse communities...The compelling and thickly descriptive vignettes, coupled with poignant and skillfully related research and practical applications provide future and practicing educators with a strong case for viewing students’ resistance as an opportunity to develop more conscientious and equity oriented classrooms. — Matthew J. Moulton, Educational Studies

More Less

About the Author

Eric Toshalis received his Bachelor of Arts, Teaching Credential, and Master of Education degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara; a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School; and a Doctorate in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the coauthor, with Michael J. Nakkula, of Understanding Youth: Adolescent Development for Educators (Harvard Education Press, 2006) and its companion Website, He is on the faculty of the Teacher Education Department in the Graduate School of Education and Counseling at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he directs the Summer Middle Level/ High School M.A.T Program and teaches courses in adolescent development and classroom management.

For over two decades, Eric has served public education in a variety of roles, including middle and high school teacher, coach, mentor teacher, union president, community activist, teacher educator, curriculum developer, researcher, author, professor, and consultant. His primary focus has been to study and practice what it takes to ensure that students flourish in school, particularly those students who are often marginalized by mainstream practices and contexts. He received the Human Relations Award by Santa Barbara County for his antiracist efforts at his middle school, was recognized as Teacher of the Year by his school district, and was awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching by Harvard College. He consults with educators, nonprofits, and after-school professionals across the country. For more information, please visit

Table of Contents

E-book available through online booksellers

Youth Development and Education Series

Other books in Youth Development

Adolescents at School, Third Edition

Edited by Michael Sadowski

Other books in Youth Development

Transgender Students in Elementary School

Melinda M. Mangin, Foreword by Gavin Grimm

Other books in Youth Development

Related Books

Adolescents at School, Second Edition

Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There

Understanding Youth

Books From This Author

Understanding Youth