Teaching is a more an art than a skill, and any good teacher would agree to that point. A good teacher not only spreads knowledge, but also creates an environment that is conducive to learning, promoting the spread of knowledge. However, the modern day teacher faces many issues; issues that inhibit learning and the spread of knowledge. Knowing all too well about the myriad of issues that college teachers face, Stephen Brookfield, in his book 'The Skillful Teacher', aims to provide a guide for experienced and novice teachers alike.
In the first chapter of the book, the author states that to understand struggles with teaching, the teacher should consider the assumptions that he/she made about teaching in the first place. Then, the teacher should draw on personal experience and gauge whether the assumptions made were accurate or not. The point made by the author is certainly worth considering, as all too often, people make assumptions about the job at hand before actually working on it. The assumptions create a blurred image and lead to unrealistic expectations.
In the second chapter of the book, the author describes what the core skills of teaching are, and how teachers should become aware about students' thought processes. This point too, has some weight behind it, as the list of skills mentioned do matter in the real world. In addition, there is little else more important for a teacher than to know what students in the class think like. After all, a teacher can only have a chance of spreading knowledge if he/she understands what students think like.
In the third chapter of the book, the author states how teachers can better understand students' way of learning and understanding through the use of certain tests. While useful, I believe that answers given on standardized tests seldom provide the required insight in regards to the subject under question, so the use of tests by teachers is not going to provide the kind of success the author hopes for.
In the fourth chapter of the book, the author draws on personal experience and states what students like in their teachers. The presence of certain traits for instance, is well liked by students. This point certainly has a lot of credibility behind it, as teachers that are rude or too strict are often feared by the students, and this hampers the overall learning process. Friendly teachers on the other hand, allow students to interact better and this helps in the spread of knowledge and makes the classroom a comfortable place to be in.
Brookfield, S. (1990). The skillful teacher: on technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers