The Skillful Teacher by Stephen D. Brookfield-Chapter 4

Chapter 4 -What Students Value in Teachers

This chapter thoroughly covers 2 themes: Authenticity and Credibility.

Being authentic is presenting yourself genuinely and being honest. You mean what you say in terms of how you want to create your learning environment and you hold yourself accountable.  Being authentic gains trust because you have nothing to hide and the class believes in your integrity to do nothing more than put their learning first. “Nothing destroys students’ trust in teachers more quickly than seeing teachers espouse one set of principles or commitments (for example, to democracy, active participatory learning, critical thinking, or responsiveness to students’ concern) and then behave in ways that contradict these.(Brookfield, 2006, page 68)  I believe this touches on the emotional side of the student and gaining their trust is important for them to fully engage in your class.

Credibility is knowing what you are teaching. If students want to understand concepts, they want to learn from an expert. If you have a firm grasp of the content you are teaching, the class will have the confidence in learning from you. Being able to answer questions willingly at any given moment with confidence and ease can create interest or excitement for a student who is genuinely interested in the content and know they will be getting reliable information. This aspect touches on the academic motivation where they want to learn from you because they believe this is an area of expertise for you.  “When demonstrating a clear command of a subject appears to come easily and quickly to a teacher, this is usually construed as a solid indicator of expertise.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 59)


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