Brookfields’ Experience Teaching: Chapter 1

As a new educator I find I am always looking for guidelines, policies, protocols, etc., to help me find my way or figure out what it is exactly I’m supposed to be doing. I like to see examples of what other people have done as a springboard for ideas to use in my lessons. Sometimes this works and sometimes not – very student/class specific as I have learned.

When reading chapter 1, I like how Brookfield (2006, pg. 2) states, “Muddling through is about all you can do when no clear guidelines exist to help you deal with unexpected contingencies.”  I have to say this made me feel somewhat better as there are days when it seems like I am doing nothing but muddling through which at times made me feel like I wasn’t prepared enough or even suited for teaching.

We all have different experiences that allow us to adapt to certain situations and Brookfield (2006) calls this informed practical reasoning. We have to learn to assess a situation – key player, key issues, etc. Once this has been done there is the need to quickly understand what the underlying issue may be and then act upon it based on our past experiences (if we’re (un)lucky enough to have been there before) and guiding policies already in place. I think though, that Brookfield should’ve included self-reflection as a fourth step. I believe we do this unconsciously after a situation when we do the what-if-shoulda-coulda-woulda of our actions or words but sometimes, it’s helpful for someone to put into words what I’m already doing so that I can see I’m on the right track or if I’m not, how to get back on it.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Brookfields’ writing – he’s very….wordy and I prefer succint. However, through all the metaphors and personal experiences he shares, I have found some great gems in what he has to say. Perhaps this is because I have more teaching experience or am almost done PIDP but I am now looking forward to reading more The Skillful Teacher.



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