Skillful Teaching

What is skillful teaching? This is a great question, but before we can get more in-depth on what makes a skillful teacher, we need to discuss who we are teaching? If we are teaching children, we are more likely using a pedagogy approach. While it has proven success for teaching children, I think we all can agree we don’t treat adults like children, so why should be teach adults like children?

In chapter two of The Skillful Teacher, Stephen Brookfield, discusses the core assumption of skillful teaching.  Brookfield (2015) breaks down four core assumptions, all of which helps brings relevance to teaching adults like adults, not teaching in a pedagogy approach but in an andragogy approach.

Andragogy-“the methods or techniques used to teach adults.”

-A skillful teacher uses multiple types of teaching strategies and techniques, with one main goal in mind: to find whatever works to help students learn (Brookfield,2015).

adopt a critical reflective stance towards their practice (Brookfield,2015), is key so students can witness you modeling what you are teaching.

having a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions. (Brookfield,2015) This assumptions stresses the need for constant student feedback and its importance throughout your course.

College students of any age should be treat as adults (Brookfield,2015),  whether they are 18 or 45, this is how they will learn the skills to prepare them for their future careers.

Addressing these core assumption in your teaching and having a greater understanding of your students needs and goals is going to help you in your strive to becoming a skillful teacher.

Adult learners bring past knowledge and experiences, pre-set goals and a need to find relevance in their learning.  We can’t teach all adult learners the same, with no varying teaching styles or techniques we would never be successful at motivating our adult learners in the classroom.


Andragogy. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved February 19, 2016 from website

Brookfield, S.D (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Trust, technique and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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