We recently got involved in helping our teenage child with a piece of college work, where they were asked to talk about how the theory they'd learned on the course had influenced their practical work. When we discussed this as a family, it became apparent that the reason our teen was struggling with this is that they felt that they all the theory they'd learned was "rubbish" and that none of it informed their practical work - they thought their own ideas were superior and preferable. They seemed very certain of their stance and not open to discussion: they're studying a subject neither of us know much about, which makes frame challenges difficult for us.
We were pretty gobsmacked by this. To us, it indicated not only towering arrogance in the face of instruction - to think they knew better than centuries of informed academic thinking - but also a concern that the course in question was being taught very badly if that kind of attitude was not challenged. We were so shocked that we sidestepped challenging it there and then, not really knowing what to say and not wanting to escalate it into a full-on confrontation.
Obviously this can't be left unremarked in the long-term, however. Not only does this piece of work need to be done, but our teen needs to elevate their grades - which are good, but not outstanding - if they want to go on to the further education institution of their choice. The fact they're rejecting a portion of what they're being taught as "rubbish" would seem a potential contributor to them not getting the required grades. They were also adamant that it was pointless reading additional theory aside from that taught on the course to try and get some ideas they might accept or appreciate to inform their practical work because it was more important for them to use their own ideas.
How can we go about making them more open to receiving taught ideas, reading around the subject and using them practically when they're so convinced they know best? And how can we do this in a manner that will minimise the risk of upset and confrontation, especially given that feelings on this subject are high on both sides?