As it is described by Brookfield, I was one of those readers, you can call me even a naive one, who thought: Here we go. This is the moment when I will get all my questions answered on how to be a skillful teacher.
The first of the three core assumptions is to teach in whatever way helps students to learn. I find this statement extremely generic and not very helpful. But it just shows you how situational teaching can be.
The second core assumption talks about how teachers should be critically reflective practitioners. I can relate to this statement as I believe we live through experiences to reflect on and learn from. Because of this, as we move forward in our career, we gain the skills necessary to provide a clear and compelling rationale for our practice. With that we, as instructors, become more aware of what and how we are teaching but are also able to build long lasting, trusting relationships with our students.
The third core assumption, according to Brookfield, is “The most important knowledge skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions.” (Brookfield, p. 17.) This is not an easy task to master. I find Christopher Emdin’s presentation “Teach teachers how to create magic” (TEDTalk, October 2013.) extremely valuable. He grabbed my attention when he was saying “content and theories with the absence of the magic of teaching and learning means nothing.” Furthermore he talks about the importance of student engagement. I have to agree with Emdin: preachers and rappers are great examples of people who have no problem engaging their audience. But when we open our eyes and pay attention, we can see that there are people all around us who have the power to engage, inspire and captivate. We can all recall one or two special people in our lives who’s anecdotes were so mesmerizing and entertaining. Some of them were teachers, some of them were educators at heart and some of them were teachers who were also educators at heart.
My first teacher who had magic was Mrs. Kovacs in grade one. She started her introduction by painting a beautiful picture of this magical land of letters and numbers we call school. I felt privileged to be part of it and this feeling propelled me to learn with an open mind and open heart. This wonderful teacher had skill and knowledge by integrating content, theories and a little bit of magic which may very well be the essence of valuable teaching.