‘The Skillful Teacher’ Chapter 1

‘The Skillful Teacher’ is written by Stephen Brookfield, and is the text used for PIDP 3260.

I was pleased to discover that I quickly become engaged by Brookfield’s wit and sense of humor. I always find that learning about something new is easier for me if I can attach it to an event or situation (even if that experience wasn’t mine). Brookfield is honest. I appreciate his humble transparency with confessional stories such as this: ‘An example of stumbling blindly into something approaching an appropriate response happened to me one day when I had prepared a series of dazzlingly provocative questions for discussion that I felt were bound to generate heated, rich, and informed conversation. I asked the first question and was met with blank stares and total silence.’

Of course, this makes someone want to continue reading! The lead up and peak of the learning experience on behalf of the teacher (Brookfield himself) allows the reader to associate Brookfields’ ‘muddling through’ with some of their own.

He is almost like a cheerleader, or an Instructor’s Only Life Coach; ‘Experiencing ego-deflating episodes of disappointment and demoralization is quite normal. Indeed, being aware that we regularly face inherently irresolvable dilemmas in our teaching, and that we hurt from these, is an important indicator that we are staying awake and remaining critically alert.’ I find honesty like this very encouraging, and so far, I would recommend his book to any new instructor.

The text so far seems to be a combination of valuable tips with a sometimes hilarious ‘learn from my mistakes’ approach. What an awesome thing it would have been, to be a student of Stephen Brookfield. There is a responsibility we have as instructors, and it is obvious that Brookfield cares very much about this responsibility. He takes it seriously, and not just to make himself look good to secure a job. No, he truly wants to be effective in his delivery and creative in his approach.

I have already told my brother in law who teaches grade 11 physics, and is one of those over and above instructors, to read this book.

Very much looking forward to learning more from Mr. Brookfield.


Brookfield, Stephen D.. The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (p. 6). Wiley. Kindle Edition. 


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