Educational theorists emphasize the importance of creating a classroom environment that encourages positive or productive student resistance to dominant social discourse. This article revisits work in critical pedagogy, feminism, and composition by focusing on the challenges of teaching a first-year writing course on the theme of masculinity. The gender imbalance of this class, with a majority of male students, combined with the course theme, contributed to an environment that raised unanticipated questions, which prompted the reconsideration of the intersections of critical, feminist, and composition pedagogies. In this class, the dynamics worked against a process of critical inquiry and reflection and instead often reified dominant view-points and social positions, specifically with respect to gender. This article concludes with evidence of how practices in composition studies, especially student-instructor conferences, helped to redirect some of the reactive resistance encountered in the classroom.

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