Make Me cover (Amazon).jpg


Named one of the
"15 Must-Read Titles in Urban Education" by the
Center for Urban Education

at the University of Pittsburgh


Published by
Harvard Education Press

View table of contents here

Available here & here and at your local bookstore.



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.

I wrote Make Me to bring together theoretical, psychological, political, and pedagogical scholarship in a way that helps educators make sense of students’ oppositional behaviors, respond to those behaviors productively, and avoid traps in reductive or punitive approaches commonly employed in schools. My goal with it, as with all of my scholarship, is to better align what we know from research with what we do in schools, and to position educators as equity enhancers in middle school, high school, and university settings. I designed the book to be useful as a core textbook in teacher education, school psychology, and counseling courses, and in professional development activities in schools/districts. If you read it or use it, please let me know what you think!
— Dr. Eric Toshalis


In Educational Studies:

"A text crafted for critically focused thinkers who wish to strengthen their ability to work with marginalized and diverse populations of students in order to make classrooms, schools, and communities as dynamic and welcoming as possible....Toshalis does a thorough job of keeping all readers engaged and, with each subsequent chapter, persistently directing the possibility of serving as a change agent directly at the reader."

On Twitter:

"It's the best education book I've read."

From the NeverBore Teacher blog:

"If you’re faced with students who resist you in class, you need to read this book. Toshalis has researched every aspect of student motivation and behavior, and he makes a compelling argument that we need to engage student resistance, rather than repress it."

From Choice:

"[Make Me is] particularly poignant considering recent events on racial discourse occurring in the media today....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."

From Social Theory Applied:

"Toshalis calls for a radical rethink of resistance. Instead of quashing such behaviours via stringent classroom management strategies, punishments or suspensions, Toshalis urges his teacher colleagues to engage with student resistance and to apply insights from theory and research to challenge their existing practices and pedagogic assumptions....[I]t’s clear that Toshalis draws deeply from his own experiences as a teacher, creating a candid perspective that enables him to write about a complex and controversial topic with a strong sense of good-humoured authority and understanding."


"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 of What Kids Can Do, and author of The Motivation Equation (Next Generation Press, 2013), Fires in the Mind (Jossey-Bass, 2012), Fires in the Bathroom (New Press, 2005), and Fires in the Middle School Bathroom (New Press, 2009)

"Eric Toshalis offers a research-based, humanistic, and enlightened perspective and alternative that every school counselor, teacher, and administrator should read."

— Angela Valenzuela, Professor and Director of the University of Texas Center for Education Policy and Associate Vice President for School Partnerships at the University of Texas at Austin, and author of Subtractive Schooling (SUNY Press, 1999) and Leaving Children Behind (SUNY Press, 2004)

"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; author of Start Where You Are But Don't Stay There (Harvard Education Press, 2010)