I’ve been looking forward to taking 3260 Professional Practice because I’m interested in learning best practices of teaching and how to continuously develop to become a be a better teacher. I was concerned about the reading; worried it would be dry text of rigid rules backed by equally dry research. To my surprise, The Skillful Teacher by Stephen D. Brookfield is a unique and insightful read.
Impressed by his succinct ability to summarize similar feelings and experiences in just the first chapter, I find myself recommending it everyone. Brookfield describes the full range of emotions felt by teachers and students when in a learning environment where each party is bringing different experiences and preconceived notions of learning to the classroom.
For me, the most valuable excerpt from the first chapter is the list of truths on teaching that he has established for himself. He describes, “Over a period of time each of us develops this personal truth to the point where we depend on it and sometimes declare it.” (p. 8)
I think these truths help us through the most challenging times of teaching and level off the peaks and valleys of emotions that happen with teaching. I don’t believe that the truths are set in stone, only that they evolve over time with experience and reflection. And we may find some new ones and drop some old ones.
I am pleased to have come across this book early in my career. I wish I had it from day one. I made the suggestion for it be a gift to our faculty and learned that it will be presented to all faculty at our semi-annual staff meeting. I hope that they find it as helpful as I have.
Brookfield, S. (2015). The skillful teacher: On trust, technique and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.