The Skillful Teacher by Stephen D. Brookfield-Chapter 12

Chapter 12 – Responding to Resistance

This chapter was split into 2 sections. The first section was basically talking about possible reasons for resistance. The reasons may be more than students not wanting to be there. Some examples included

  • fear of the unknown in terms of how the learner may change your perspective at the end of the course
  • teaching styles that don’t fit the learner
  • the learning having no connection to the learner’s interests
  • level of required learning  is inappropriate (poor judgement of the learner’s level)
  • lack of clarity in teacher’s instruction

These were just a few examples of many referenced in the book that I personally have had first hand experience in.

The second section deals with possible ideas and/or solutions that can help elevate resistance in the class. I am not going to list out what they are because I found them to have a similar running theme, which is to engage and access the class earnestly. Instead of butting heads with the individuals who seem to not care about you or what you are trying to do in your classroom, you should try to understand them. Put yourself in their shoes, access where their level of learning is, earn trust by clearly stating your intentions.

I found an interesting website about an interview with an author of a book regarding this subject and found it very relevant. Enjoy!


PIDP 3260 Professional Practice Journal Entry 2


“…there will be very few standardized practices that help students across the board learn essential skills or knowledge. An approach that one student finds particularly useful or congenial may well be profoundly unsettling and confusing to the student sitting next to her.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 17). With a quote like this, it makes you wonder how an instructor will deal with this reality. How do you deal with the fact that when using certain teaching practices, only a fraction of your class are grasping the concept, where the rest are getting more confused? Will instructors be on the never-ending quest to find these few techniques that can reach all of your students?


When I read this quote, the 2 words that jumped out at me were ‘standardized practices’. It made me think about the term and question: What is the purpose of standardizing teaching practices? What benefits does it have for the learner? I ask those questions because as I am going through the PIDP, the main focus is the learner and it’s obvious why. Our success as instructor hinges on the fact that we help students learn. When you think about standardized practices, it doesn’t make me think about the learner. I feel the benefits of standardized practices are within the institution’s administration to create consistency in teaching, not learning. I found an interesting website that discusses areas of standardization and weighs the advantages and disadvantages. “The most obvious and concrete problem with standardizing level, pace, and path is illuminated by how poorly that serves students who are far from “average” in any given academic area.  It isn’t news that students who “get” the material quickly often disengage due to boredom and students who struggle disengage due to hopelessness.”


When I look at this quote, I feel it has validity. To think that there are certain practices that will reach all your students is unreasonable. As a result, instructors will need to find multiple practices to reach all your students. When starting a new class, you must be prepared to face students with different personalities, cultures, and beliefs. No two classes will be exactly the same with an entire class ready to learn concepts in one particular fashion. As the instructor, this is an opportunity expand your mind and discover new ways to reach certain types of students. “”We want to have a class where everyone can be successful because we need everyone to be successful,” says Brian Lukoff, an education researcher at Harvard who is studying ways to more effectively teach large classes.”


As I have stated earlier, in order to have a lesson be effective to my entire class, I cannot rely on standardized practices. Every class I intend to teach will be different from one another and it is part of the job to understand what types of personalities, learning styles, and beliefs I am working with. From there, I will have to decide what combination of practices and techniques will work best with my current class. “The most we can hope for in facing them is that we settle on responses that make sense for context in which we find ourselves, and that lessen rather than exacerbate the tensions we inevitably feel….I know I will never connect with everyone’s preferred learning style 100 percent of the time because the diversity of my students’ personalities, experiences, racial and cultural traditions, and perceptual filters (as well as my own personality, racial identity, learning style, cultural formation, and professional training) make that impossible. (Brookfield, 2006, page 9) Having read that, it doesn’t make sense to believe that I would be able to find a one style fits all practice in instruction.


Brookfield, S. D. (n.d.). Skillful Teacher: on Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom {Jossey-bass Higher and Adult Education Series ; 2nd Ed.}. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US). Pages 9 and 17.

Bjerede, M. (2013, April 26). Education Standardization: Essential or Harmful?

Media, A. P. (2017). Rethinking the Way College Students Are Taught. Retrieved February 26, 2017


Professional Code of Conduct and Its Consequences

I was researching about professional code of conduct and came across University of British Columbia’s Professional Code of Conduct for their teacher candidates enrolled in their Bachelor of Education program. UBC is one of the more prestigious institutions in the lower mainland of British Columbia and I found it interesting to see how they structured their code of conducts, since it is local to me.

I have also attached a link to the protocol and procedures that happen when this code of conduct is broken. When you read through the sites, you know they are serious, and rightfully so, because of the liability involved. You can see the careful planning that is involved when structuring such a protocol.

It is important to have these guidelines in place for aspiring teachers and faculty members to know what is acceptable and unacceptable. Not only does having the code and protocol  help groom teacher candidates, but it protects the institution from strikes in reputation if these procedures are not set in place.

The Skillful Teacher by Stephen D. Brookfield-Chapter 8

Chapter 8 – Getting Students to Participate

I think anyone who has been in a classroom, can attest that they have seen a class unfold where an instructor has failed to create a discussion. Multiple questions are asked where he or she is left with blank stares and no volunteers to participate.

Why is it so difficult, even though you know the topic is interesting and that students have something to say but are afraid to say it?

Brookfield’s listed reasons are listed below:

  • Crippling Personal Information
  • Fear of Looking Stupid
  • Feeling Unprepared
  • We Don’t Trust You
  • We’re Not Welcome Here
  • We’ve Been Burned
  • Talking Isn’t Cool
  • The Teacher’s Doing All The Talking
  • Talking Isn’t Rewarded

I am sure anybody can look at this list and say “yes”, I did not put up my hand even though I wanted to, because of one or more of the reasons listed above.

I, myself, have had situations where I did not participate because of one of these reasons and most of those situations were in high school. Mainly for the reasons of ‘fear of looking stupid’ as well as ‘talking isn’t cool’. A lot of that stems from insecurities of being judged by my peers.

Within the last 2 years, I’ve had a chance to go back to school due to a decision to change careers. I felt much different being in a classroom setting this time around than in high school, roughly 20 years ago. I felt I had to actively participate and question everything that was being taught to succeed. I was one of the oldest students in the class and I knew I was being judged by my younger peers. I did not care and felt that I needed to do well in the class in order to have this career change succeed. I am sure because my reasons for taking the course was so important to me and my family’s livelihood that I can overlook the typical reasons not to participate. ‘Looking cool’ did not matter to me in that setting. Looking stupid was not an issue because I knew if my opinion of the subject was incorrect that a discussion or a correction from my instructor would lead me to understand the content better, hence learning from your mistakes.

I guess there are many factors that can help promote participation in class. From my experiences, maturity and relevance for personal advancement plays a big part to participate. I also believe interest in the subject helps as well. As for not participating, a large part is due to insecurity, which most of the reasons above touch upon. As the instructor, if you can ease that sense of insecurity and create a safe environment for which the student can trust you and not feel stupid, even though they are incorrect on the subject, than I believe you would have more students participating.




Forks in the Road

It’s funny how life changes. Certain things happen very slowly, and then there are times where it’s going so fast you don’t know what happend. These last 3 years have been a blur to me. I started the PIDP as a full-time working chef. I felt that being an instructor would be a good career choice as well as still be part of the culinary industry, without the long hours.

Things didn’t really pan out the way I thought it would. About a year after enrolling in the program, I decided to leave the culinary industry altogether and to go to school at VCC, where I took the Administrative Assistant program. It was an 8-month program and when I finished,  I was fortunate enough to find a good job right away.

I’ve been at my Admin job for a year now and like it very much. I am still looking to finish the PIDP because I’m so close to finishing and felt that I may still want to pursue a teaching career. Be it as a chef instructor or teaching in an administrative role, I am open to the options that can be created by completing this diploma program.

To be honest, I do not know what’s in store for me 5 years down the road. I feel my current job has a lot potential for growth and I can hone my craft as an administrative professional. I also don’t want to discount the fact that I have 18 years of experience of being a professional chef.

There are associations I could join to be more involved in each respective field. As a chef, I can join the Chef’s Association – BC Chapter. They do many events such as food shows, competitions, as well as volunteering to cook and feed the needy. I think being involved that way can help me build a strong case for passion within the culinary field. As an administrative professional, I could join the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals). Like the Chef’s Association, the IAAP holds many events, as well as conferences to network and develop within the field. If I wanted to have more of a credential, there is a designation sponsored by the IAAP called the CAP (Certified Administrative Professional) where there is a prerequisite, preparation for, and the completion of an extensive exam. This designation would be useful to show I am a serious about being an administrative professional.

The most important thing for me at the moment is to finish the PIDP. I think I will have a great sense of accomplishment having finished the program, and I also believe that it may be useful in the future. You never know when you’ll come across that next fork in the road, so it’s better to be prepared.



PIDP 3260 Professional Practice Journal Entry 1


The quote I chose to write about is “…teaching is frequently a gloriously messy pursuit in which shock, contradiction and risk are endemic.”(Brookfield, 2006, page 1). I chose this quote because I found it interesting and lighthearted how the author uses irony to describe teaching. In most cases glorious has little relation to messiness and in this case the word frequent was included as well. That makes it all the more interesting to me.


When describing the experiences of teaching, Brookfield uses the words shock, contradiction and risk. Does he use these terms to reference how the instructor feels when teaching? Is it referenced for the students? Or both?

As a student, I have felt shock when the subject taught is overwhelming. I can only assume that an instructor can run into shock when an unanticipated result comes from a lesson. “When a racially motivated fistfight broke out on my second day of teaching, all I could do was try to muddle through.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 2).

The other word that caught my attention in the quote was risk. What are the risks in teaching? Lesson plans itself can be a risky. You can come up with what could be a brilliant plan, but would it work for every class? Would every class be engaged because of its design? “…I had prepared a series of dazzlingly provocative questions for classroom discussion that I felt were bound to generate heated, rich, and informed conversation amongst students. I asked the first question and was met with blank stares and total silence.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 4). Risk could also involve the students. Those blank stares in the last cited passage could represent student’s reluctance to participate. This may be due to the insecurity of how their answers would be judged. This is also a risk.


When analyzing this quote and going through the first chapter, the underlying theme I feel Brookfield has established is that teaching in unpredictable. Not all classes are going to be the same. There will be times where things are going to happen that you won’t be able to foresee. For an instructor to succeed you are going to have to be adaptable. For lessons to be effective lesson plans may need to be altered. Different approaches may need to be used to teach the same subject to different classes

Here is a link to a site about Differentiated Instruction. It gives examples of different approaches one can take to alter their lesson.


As I said earlier, I liked how this quote had a lighthearted feel to it. You can tell Brookfield is passionate about this subject and I can find inspiration in this quote. It makes me believe that when and if I have a classroom of my own that I won’t take it for granted. I understand that the personalities in each classroom will be different and it is up to me to cater the lesson plans to the type of students I am teaching. Having the notion that you can teach a subject exactly the same way to multiple classes would not be acceptable. “…, 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 critically alert. Teachers who say that no such dilemma exist in their lives are, in my view, either exhibiting denial on a massive scale or getting through the school day on automatic pilot.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 9)


The Skillful Teacher on Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom second edition
by Stephen D. Brookfield, 2006, pages 1, 2, 4, and 9

Differentiated Instruction by TEAL Center staff – Adapted from two NCSALL Focus on the Basics articles, Vol. 7, Issue C, and Vol. 8, Issue D.

The Skillful Teacher by Stephen D. Brookfield-Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching

The 3 core assumptions  in chapter 2 are:

  • Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn
  • Skillful teaching adopt a critically reflective stance towards their practice
  • The most important knowledge skillful teachings need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions

After reading the chapter and reflecting on these assumptions, it definitely makes sense. The first assumption is very broad and encompasses both the instructor and the learner. Do whatever it takes so that the learner the learner can learn. Be open to do anything that can make your lesson effective. There was a point made where an instructor usually feels most helpful when being suggestive and assisting right away. Brookfield makes a point in arguing that. “…the best teaching behaviour is sometimes to leave the student alone and not to intervene.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 26) I liked that point because whatever it takes can come in many forms and there’s insight to the other side of a perspective that is very common in teaching, which is being readily available because you think you will be helpful.

The second assumption deals with self assessment. I think it is important to constantly evaluate how you are teaching. With most things done repeatedly, like teaching a particular subject or class, once you get comfortable with a certain way of doing something you people tend to become complacent. I feel the point here is to strive to improve your practice. Constantly evaluate and re-evaluate what can be done better in your style of instruction. Technology can play a big role in this assumption because of the rapid rate in progression. Keeping up with learning tools is one example of finding ways to improve.

The third assumption deals with accessing your students. I feel this is the most important assumption. This is because the focus here is on the learner. “We may exhibit an admirable command of content, and possess a dazzling variety of pedagogic skills, but without knowing what’s going on in our students’ heads that knowledge may be presented and that skill exercised in a vacuum of misunderstanding.” (Brookfield, 2006, page 28). Basically, it doesn’t matter how good of an instructor you are or how much useful information you have to offer, if you are unaware of how your students are perceiving your lesson, it could all be lost in translation.


Brookfield, S. (2006). The skillful teacher (2nd ed.). S.l.: Jossey-Bass. Pages 26 and 28