Community-Brookfield Chapter 2

In chapter two, Steven Brookfield speaks about his four core assumptions of skillful teaching.

  • Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn.
  • Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice.
  • 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.
  • College students of any age should be treated as adults. (Brookfield, 2015, pg. 15)

They are all valuable and thought provoking assumptions. The assumption that was very engaging for me was that skillful teaching is whatever helps students to learn. As he points out this does seem obvious. What are we all doing coming to these buildings every day if not to learn. I think that this is more of a challenge that some may realize though. Often I find that I like to do what is comfortable for me. I like to teach in the same manner I like to learn. My biggest failure with this is that I am doing the majority of my students a disservice because they are nothing like me. Our classrooms are diverse and becoming more so everyday. The borders between cultures are shrinking and the internet has really made our world a global community. You can now communicate just as quickly and easily with someone on the other side of the world as you can with someone in your own home. We as educators need to recognize this and work our hardest to be inclusive and understanding of all our students. It is a challenging job especially when you may have student who’s culture you are not familiar with, have a very good understanding of or possibly a prejudice towards. The truth is we are just human too with our own, preferences, biases and short comings and again we need to recognize this and overcome it daily. This is a very serious topic and I feel should always be taken seriously, but I am a firm believer that sometimes humor can help us relate or become aware of situations. In chapter 4 page 17 of The Skillful Teacher, Brookfield talks about the diversity we see in our classrooms. As I was reading through this section my mind kept wandering to the show Community. Now I will place a disclaimer that the views they express on this show are not mine and may not be for everyone. Like all good humor they push the boundaries on a whole wealth of social issues and there are discussions and jokes that many may find offensive. If you have a liberal sense of humor though I do suggest checking it out. As an adult educator working in higher education I have found many relatable instances and applicable humor to what I see and do everyday. I have included a clip from the pilot episode where the Dean of Greendale gives a speech to the students. In this speech he eludes to the diversity we see in our classes in a humorous way.

 

Brookfield, S. (2015) The skillful Teacher: On Techniques, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

 Harmon, D. (Director) Foster, G., Kienlen, P., Krasnoff, R., McKenna, C. & Shapeero, T.(Producers). (2009). Community [Television Show]. Krasnoff Foster Entertainment, Harmonious Claptrap, Universal pictures and Sony Pictures Television.

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