Brookfield Chapter 2: Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching (3260)


In his book, “The Skillful Teacher” Stephen Brookfield (2015) discusses four core assumptions he views as the foundation of skillful teaching:

  1. Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn
  2. Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice
  3. The most important knowledge that skilful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions
  4. College students of any age should be treated as adults

The first assumption requires the instructor to take the responsibility to be aware of what strategies are needed with each class in order to help students learn.  That means taking the time to really get to know your students, their experience, past learning situations and their learning style preference.  As a result, no two classes are taught the same and a skillful teacher is the one that recognizes and responds to the need to adjust teaching/learning strategies to accommodate the learners.

The next assumption is the one that is really hitting home for me; the art of critical reflection. Brookfield mentions four lenses that we should use to check the accuracy of our teaching actions and beliefs which include:  the student, colleagues’ perceptions, literature, and our own personal history.  Applying these four lenses to the process of critical reflection will help improve the choices we make in how to best present teaching that meets the variety of learning needs within the class.  Critical reflection therefore, ensures informed decisions about our actions are made.

The third assumption involves having insight into what students are thinking and feeling in our class.  This requires the instructor to make students feel safe by establishing a positive learning environment where students are valued, privacy is respected, timely response is provided, positive role modelling is observed, and there is evidence of a genuine interest in the success of each participant.  Once students feel safe and know that the instructor can be trusted, the opportunity for honest feedback can occur.

Finally the fourth assumption is that we should teach all college students as adults.  All students want to be treated with respect regardless of age, background, or experience.  Brookfield shared that one of the most important things that convinces students of respectful treatment is “the teacher attempting to discover, and address seriously, students’ concerns and difficulties.” (p.24)   I believe that respect is the key to creating a positive learning environment and is the true foundation for skillful teaching to occur.


Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher:  On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd ed.).  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (3260)

The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) is a series of 45 questions that provide insight into an individual’s view of teaching.  It is based on five perspectives of good teaching where typically most individuals will hold one, or sometimes two, dominant perspectives.  The TPI results further identify within each perspective if your views are grounded in what you believe, what you intend to accomplish, or what educational actions you undertake in your teaching settings.  The Five Perspectives are:

Apprenticeship – Good teachers are highly skilled practitioners of what they teach.

Developmental – Effective teaching must be planned and conducted “from the learner’s point of view.”

Nurturing – Effective teaching assumes that long-term, hard, persistent effort to achieve comes from the heart, not the head.

Social Reform – Effective teaching seeks to change society in substantive ways and from this perspective, the object of teaching is the collective rather than the individual.

Transmission – Effective teaching requires a substantial commitment to the content or subject matter.

I was not surprised by the results of my TPI.  My dominant perspective is nurturing which makes sense given my health care background teaching community health workers, families and clients.  I tend to teach using a facilitation approach that is supportive, guiding in nature and approachable in the clinical setting.

Apprenticeship and developmental were both secondary perspectives that I obviously view as important.  In my view, apprenticeship provides the credibility needed to share practical knowledge.     Experience expands our knowledge and provides the means to share, discuss and impart learning in a meaningful way.  For example, in a recent presentation on end of life care the ability to provide examples from my own practical experience gave learners a better understanding of what to expect and how to respond.  Similarly, developmental is significant in my work as understanding how students think and absorb the content will allow for adjustment on the fly to ensure it makes sense for all students.

My recessive perspective is social reform which makes sense as teaching moral responsibility is not really a significant component of the course objectives I have been involved with.

What I did find interesting was the relationship between the beliefs, intentions and actions for each of these perspectives.  For the most part my relationships are fairly flat line which would reflect my lack of formal teaching experience and that I still want to be all things to all students.  Interestingly there is a large discrepancy between both belief and actions and my intentions in the domain of transmission.  I think this reflects ‘how’ I was taught where all related content was covered in a specific order with the intent that we all learn everything.  This program has changed my thinking significantly in this area and I know I want to be a learner focused educator that guides learning rather than delivering learning.

I did try taking the TPI a few times using a different group of students as my focus to answer the questions.  My results were fairly similar indicating there is some consistency in my opinion of teaching.  I am looking forward to further exploring my teaching philosophy so that by the end of the program I will know exactly what that is.



Pratt, D.D., Collins, J.B. (2014).  Teaching Perspectives Inventory.  Retrieved from:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brookfield Chapter 1: Experiencing Teaching (3260)

Teaching as White Water Rafting                                images-jpgwwr

“One of my favorite metaphors is teaching as white water rafting.  In both, periods of apparent calm are interspersed with sudden frenetic turbulence.  Tranquility co-exists with excitement, reflection with action.  If we are fortunate enough to negotiate crises successfully we feel a sense of self-confident exhilaration.  If we capsize our self-confidence is shaken as we are awash in self-doubt.” (Brookfield, 2015, p.5)

This metaphor nicely captures the multiple emotional experiences of teaching and even sparked a few additional thoughts for me.

  1. Every journey, either on a river or when teaching, is always different. The rapids, water flow, and temperature or the objectives, delivery and learners bring new experiences to each encounter.
  2. Adequate preparation is required for both. When rafting, safety is paramount so it is important that adequate instruction be provided prior to the excursion on safety, required equipment and general expectations. In teaching, preparation will help identify potential barriers to learning allowing for adjustments to be made prior to delivery.  Preparation and practice can also help alleviate nerves and fear!
  3. Unforeseen obstacles are to be expected. When rafting, obstacles are the norm and appropriate paddle technique is required to negotiate and/or avoid.  In teaching, unanticipated questions may arise or identification of confusion from the learners and these must be met head on by using appropriate techniques to navigate through.  Asking leading questions to clarify confusion, describing the concept using analogies to re-present a point are examples of techniques that can be tried.

I think the experience of teaching offers the opportunity to encounter a wide range of emotions that take you through highs, lows and everything in-between.  For me, it is the reason teaching remains interesting as every situation is unique and because of that, it offers new learning and continual professional growth.



Brookfield, S.D. (2015).  The Skillful Teacher:  On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass. 








Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Professional Practice Intro. (3260)

Hello and welcome to my PIDP blog page.  The Professional Practice course is my 7th and final course of the PIDP program prior to the Capstone.  I am excited to be nearing the end of this journey and also really encouraged by the learning that has taken place throughout the program.  I am not in an official teaching role at the moment however have been throughout my career in Community Health as a Nurse.  I am really looking forward to getting back into that role now that I am better equipped with knowledge, resources, and especially with an improved awareness of the role of media to enhance learning.

I am looking forward to this course in terms of how to obtain instructional feedback on an ongoing basis.  One of the greatest things the PIDP program has taught me is the value in self reflection, the ability to critically look not only at the learning but also to critically review the delivery, receipt and understanding of what has been presented in order to make adjustments that will improve the transfer of knowledge.  Obtaining feedback, either formally or informally, is key to successful delivery of instruction and I am keen to learn methods to do this.  So, time to get to it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Confirmation Bias (3250)


We all tend to circle ourselves with those people we love to agree with, and who agree with us, and as such, these people create our social network of who we tend to spend time with as a result of holding similar views, values and opinions.  When we feel uncomfortable or insecure because someone or something challenges our view and opinions this behavior leads to confirmation bias.  George Dvorsky defines confirmation bias in his blog as:  ‘The often unconscious act of referencing only those perspectives that support any pre-existing views, yet concurrently ignoring or dismissing opinions — no matter how valid — that threaten our world view’.  In doing this however, we are setting ourselves up for errors in judgement and potentially making crucial mistakes.  The solution is to identify and recognize our bias and to take the time and ensure we get information from multiple sources, regardless if they support our thinking or not.

I have learned a tremendous lesson during the observation the current Presidential election in the U.S. When this topic came up in the course forum I decided to challenge my assumptions and predetermined opinion toward one of the candidates.  I have taken the time to listen to and read from a variety of news resources and have had discussions with many people of differing opinions and I found it all to be very enlightening.  I still feel I am of the same opinion however, I do feel it is an educated opinion and I am far more aware of the contributions this individual has made and the upsides that may be offered to the American People. Now, if I can apply this process to other areas of my life, I know I will be better equipped to make evidenced decisions on a go forward.


Video | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Flipped Classrooms (3250)


The flipped classroom is my ideal learning environment as this approach fits the adult education’s values of active learner engagement and self-direction, (Merriam & Bierema, 2014).  It appeals to me because I prefer to go into a class with the underpinnings of the content having already been considered.  I need time to process material and the pre-work concept using technology offers the independent time to consider the material and allows me to create thoughts, opinions, and identify what isn’t clear for myself before being in a room of quick thinkers who rapidly share their thoughts before I have even grasped the content. (Yes, some introversion qualities have been exposed!)

The classroom time is then more interactive and spent actively learning using techniques that are either group or individual format.  I thrive on this variety as you never know what activity lies ahead and much prefer it to the former lecture style of teaching that is frequently a repeat of assigned pre-work and causes me to tune out. The added benefit with this type of classroom is the teacher has an enhanced opportunity for one-on-one interaction acting as a facilitator guiding further exploration of the learning by asking questions, pushing the learning a little deeper and helping students apply critical thinking skills and self-reflection, (Webley, 2012).

As an educator, while this is my ideal learning situation, I am sure it isn’t for everyone.  Many students prefer the lecture format as a means to avoid collaboration in group work, others may not be discipline enough to engage in the pre-work and therefore hold the class activity time back as a result, and others may prefer the lecture format as a means of learning.  I would like to try the flipped classroom on occasion and on a small scale (keeping it simple), see how it is received and use student evaluation/feedback and assessment of  whether learning outcomes were met to determine how to proceed.

The Flipped Learning Network has identified the following 4 ‘pillars’ that educators need to establish in order to successfully create a flipped classroom.

  1. Flexible environment — creating flexible spaces in which students choose when and where they learn.
  2. Learning Culture – deliberate shift of instruction to a learner-centered approach where in-class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater detail resulting in active participation in knowledge construction as they engage and evaluate their learning in a personally meaningful manner.
  3. Intentional Content – intentional identification of what needs to be taught and what materials student should explore on their own.  This will maximize classroom time in order to adopt methods of student-centered active learning strategies.
  4. Professional Educator – is the essential ingredient that enables flipped learning to occur and as such must be reflective in their practice, connect with each other to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism, and tolerate controlled chaos in the classroom.


Merriam, S. & Bierema, L. (2014). Adult Learning:  Linking Theory and Practice.  San Francisco, California, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Webly, K. (July9, 2012).  Reboot the school.  Time (pp.36-41).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Instructional Strategy Examples (3250)

Here are 5 examples of Digital Projects completed by past students that describe Instructional Strategies that I really enjoyed and will tell you why.

Story Telling

In this presentation Jacqueline does an excellent job of capturing viewer attention by jumping right in by telling a story to demonstrate the technique.  I like to use stories or personal experiences helping to create an emotional connection which has been proven to deepen learning and retention.

Case Studies

Chris does a really thorough job of presenting Case Studies as an instructional technique. In healthcare we use case studies regularly for the active learning opportunity but also the problem solving skills and critical thinking that is required as students share knowledge and expertise to resolve the situation they have been presented.  Chris mentions that good case studies will have students work through the 4 phases of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model – concrete experience – reflective observation – abstract conceptualization and active experimentation which summarizes the value of case studies.

Connected Communities

In this presentation Roy establishes the value of connected communities in learning and does so in a very clear and professional manner.  He stresses the role of collaboration for both students and teachers. Connected learning is designed for the digital age as it is powerful relevant and engaging and is ideal for online learning formats by taking advantage of the various forms of technology to create connections.

Field Trips

Starting this presentation with a few powerful questions gave it a great introduction and peaked my interest right away.  I thought the animated pictures were well done and flowed extremely well.   I agree that field trips can be very motivational for students and create an opportunity to actively engage in the learning outside the typical classroom.  Post trip reflection can bring valuable learning having experienced the situation first hand.

Jigsaws Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gamification in Education (3250)


This infographic was shared in one of my class forums in our discussions about the use of gaming in education.  I thought this resource provided a great summary of the essentials of gamification and its application in education.




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reflective Practice (3250)

Reflection is a necessary component in learning in order to understand our thoughts, feelings, and actions.  Reflection helps link experience and knowledge by providing an opportunity to critically reflect on our own experiences in order to make adjustments and improve the way we perform.

As a healthcare professional, reflective practice is necessary to ensure ongoing improvement in the quality of care I provide and to help integrate theory into practice.

The PIDP program introduced the Focused Conversation model as a means to deepen reflective practice by encouraging four levels of progressive reflection.  Objective to Reflective to Interpretive to Decisional.   The structure and sequencing of this model has been really helpful when trying to make sense of new concepts and to expand my learning.  I particularly found the reflective level most effective as it seems to be when I make that emotional/personal connection to the concept that my greatest learning has taken place.  The following provides recommended components to consider at each level:

  • Objective: Focus on the facts, the objective data.
  • Reflective: Personal reactions, emotions, and associations.
  • Interpretive: Meaning, values, significance, purpose and implications.
  • Decisional: Resolution, clarify action and impact on future practice.

Stanfield, B. (2000).  The art of focused conversation:  100 ways to access group wisdom in the workplace. Toronto, ON:ICA The Institute for Cultural Affairs.

In further research on reflective practice many healthcare professionals use Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model (1988), and I can see the value it would have in the delivery of healthcare and would like to explore its use in my current work.  While it is still new to me, I can see the value in asking myself – what else could you have done?  There is always more or a different way things can be done and this cycle encourages the evaluation of just that. Gibbs reflective cycle is a process involving six looped steps:

  • Description– What happened?
  • Feelings– What did you think and feel about it?
  • Evaluation– What were the positives and negatives?
  • Analysis– What sense can you make of it?
  • Conclusion– What else could you have done?
  • Action Plan– What will you do next time?



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Management Skills Required (3250)


I do believe classroom management and management of student conduct are skills that all educators require but, I also believe they are acquired skills we gain over time and with practice.   Managing the array of tasks and situations that take place on any given day in a classroom should be rooted in a common sense approach that is consistent and fair.  However, because effective management techniques are an acquired skill that is learned over time, educators must be willing to accept that making mistakes is part of the process and to use their mistakes as a means to improve the classroom climate.

Having said that, I am not a big believer in a host of rules that are shared with students to make them aware of behavioural expectations in my classroom.  Rather, I support creating a learning environment that fosters making students feel included, important, and recognized as a valuable contributor to all learning that takes place in the class.

Elizabeth Barkley, in her book Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (2010), suggests that by creating a classroom that has a sense of community, that is, where all students feel respected and valued in situations where they interact with each other as part of the learning community, promotes student engagement.  Through engagement, students are encouraged to learn actively as they collaborate to discover new knowledge.  By creating a positive learning environment students are more likely to want to do well and will be successful as a result of their own efforts.  I believe this will translate into a community of well-behaved and self-directed learners thus creating the perfect classroom environment for learning.

In my research I found An Effective Classroom Management Context that makes sense to adopt:

  • Know what you want and what you don’t want.
  • Show and tell your students what you want.
  • When you get what you want, acknowledge (not praise) it.
  • When you get something else, act quickly and appropriately.


Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kizlik, R.  Catalyst: Tools for Effective Teaching 2.0.  Retrieved from:



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment