I finished Chapter 2 The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching of Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher”. I found his 4 Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching very insightful. Here they are:
- Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn.
I agree that not all students learn the same way and that what helps one student may be confusing to another. I particularly liked the way Brookfield addressed this statement by inviting an alumni panel of students to the new class and then he left the room while they asked the alumni panel questions regarding the course and instructor. I think that new students respect the answers given to them from alumni students rather than just being informed by their instructors. I have always done this except I’ve never left the room, definitely something to consider next time.
- Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice.
Brookfield suggests looking at your actions and assumptions through the lenses of the students’ eyes, colleagues’ perceptions, literature and our own autobiography. He suggests that by doing so that your actions will be based on assumptions that are accurate and valid. This seems like a great idea to me.
- The most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions.
We need to be able to have students share their thinking and feeling in our classes in order to do good work otherwise we are just guessing. Students must feel safe and in order to give honest criticism, make sure anonymity is guaranteed.
- College students of any age should be treated as adults.
I liked Brookfield’s statement, “Students want their teachers to be authoritative, not authoritarian” (2015, p. 24). This is very true. We should be treating our college students as adults so that they take some responsibility for their learning.
Here’s a great article on treating college students like adults.
I find it interesting how college students want to be treated as adults, but only when it suits them to be. Most college students are young adults and this happens all the time. Research shows that the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25, so these college students are still growing. I agree with this article that the college experience should be a learning experience and that we’re trying to discuss issues and guide them in all learning. However, if treated like children, we’re limiting their learning. I know it can be very frustrating for mature adults to be in college with the young adults, but it shouldn’t be if they’re all being treated as adults.