The thesis of Stephen D. Brookfield’s book, Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher, is that teachers usually have specific assumptions about what effective teaching really means and what it entails. In this regard, teachers embark on imparting knowledge and new skills to their students based on what they assume to be the best approaches as appertains to effective teaching. Additionally, Brookfield (1995, p. 9) goes on to propose that these teachers never really pose to examine the nature of these assumptions, which essentially guide the way they intuitively instruct their students. Some of these assumptions might be well-meaning but they might not necessarily translate to effective teaching. This is especially the case where the students being taught are either specialized or prone to holding their own opinions regarding the effectiveness of their teacher, which then affect the way they respond to a specific teacher’s lessons.
Establishing Effectiveness through Brookfield’s Four Lenses
In his book, Brookfield postulates that teachers must take on the task of critically evaluating their teaching practices, which must in turn take the form of critical reflections. In this regard, teachers must look at their teaching practices and philosophies through four lenses:
1. As teachers and learners: this establishes the assumptions that teachers have while teaching and instructing their students
2. The students’ eyes: this lens establishes just how congruous the teacher’s assumptions about effective learning correspond with those of the students in his or her class.
3. Colleagues’ perceptions: this lens allows the teacher to get the opinions of his or her colleagues with regard to teaching practices and other matters of ped...
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...validity. Similarly, he postulates four methods through which a teacher can critically check these assumptions to see whether or not they are valid in the form of four lenses: as teachers and learners, students’ eyes, colleagues’ perceptions, and relevant theoretical frameworks. These lenses are especially applicable in adult learning since teachers must also develop effectiveness on the backdrop of salient assumptions. Once a teacher decides to take up as specific method of adult learning, then he or she must be willing to critically evaluate the results to determine whether or not that was the right choice.
Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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