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Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher Hardcover – October 13, 1995

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787901318 ISBN-10: 0787901318 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Brookfield, a leading adult educator, has written by far the most compelling, informed perceptive, and sensible book available on how faculty in higher education may develop themselves as educators and foster transformative learning by their students through the use of critical reflection, He gently demystifies critically reflective learning and teaching with dozens of practical examples from the classroom in different scholarly fields. Lucid, wise, jargon-free, personal and fluently written. Required Reading for educators of adults everywhere and for all faculty development programs." --?Jack Mezirow, emeritus professor of adult education, Teachers College, Columbia University

"Brookfield takes a fresh look at the application of critical reflection to teaching....The reader will find both the familiar and the new covered in this storehouse of insightful, innovative, and practical critically reflective techniques....Most appealing is Brookfield's openness to how the various techniques may be individually tailored by educators to fit unique situations. This makes for a book that is not only richly theory-based, but one that is also critically important for the educator's personal and professional development." --Adult Learning

"Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher encourages faculty to question academic posturing, accept students' challenges, and face the textured reality of the teaching/learning relationship.... Brookfield provides a colorful map to guide those faculty who enjoy critical reflection. His own story makes for lively reading." --Laura L.B. Border, director, Graduate Teacher Program and the Colorado Preparing Future Faculty Network, University of Colorado, Boulder, J. Staff, Program, & Organization Development

From the Inside Flap

Building on the insights of his highly acclaimed earlier work, The Skillful Teacher, Stephen D. Brookfield offers a very personal and accessible guide to how faculty at any level and across all disciplines can improve their teaching. Applying the principles of adult learning, Brookfield thoughtfully guides teachers through the processes of becoming critically reflective about teaching, confronting the contradictions involved in creating democratic classrooms and using critical reflection as a tool for ongoing personal and professional development.Using numerous examples, Brookfield describes what critical reflection is and why it is so important. He tells how teachers can reframe their teaching by viewing their practice through four distinctive lenses: their autobiographies as teachers and learners, their students' eyes, their colleagues' perceptions, and theoretical literature. He includes specific advice on using practical approaches to critical reflection such as teaching diaries, role model profiles, participant learning portfolios, structured critical conversation. the Critical Incident Classroom Questionnaire, the Good Practices Audit, and more. He explains how the literature of educational research and philosophy can be used as an aid to, rather than an inhibitor of, critical reflection. And he discusses how to create a campus culture that supports critically reflective teaching.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (October 13, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787901318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787901318
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jennie Pearce on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having been in one of Brookfield's workshops I must I think this book captures a lot of what he is about. There are lots of teacher educators out there who write about how important it is to be reflective, or to think critically, without it ever showing in their work. This is something I'm frankly OD'd in in staff developments I've had to go through. But Stephen truly walks his talk. Everything I like about this book I found in his workshop.

One of this book's strengths is that it's very easy to follow. I found it very easy to read and several of the examples could have come from my own classes. The four lenses on practice are things I keep constantly in mind these days having read the book carefully and also seen how Stephen uses them in his workshop. I also found the book extremely helpful in terms of giving me specific techniques. I've always basically agreed that reflection is useful (even if I'm fed up with people telling me) and would improve my teaching but I had little concrete idea about how to go about it. Each of the lenses Stephen examines has lots of techniques and exercises attached to it. One of the most useful was the critical incident questionnaire he explains in the students' eyes lens. I started to use this to evaluate my classes and I've learned lots of surprising things were going on that I had no clue about.

Finally, I appreciated the linking of critical reflection to something a little stronger than just being thoughtful. I'd never really thought about a focus for reflection before, certainly never thought about power dynamics being a focus. And the staff developments I've gone to never really deal with it. This book really got clear in my mind what my own power was as a teacher. I've always known I had it but never really been up front about it. I feel much more comfortable with this now and am ready to make sure my students think I'm using it properly.
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59 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Brookfield has done it again. An instant classic in adult education. In accessible language and with an uncanny ability to relate humorous and telling anecdotes, Brookfield provides the best available overview of reflective teaching, especially with adults. His notion that we learn to become reflective teachers through the four key lenses of self, students, colleagues, and theory is an important contribution. But what he does to explain how we learn through these four lenses is revealing and insightful. A good read. A lasting contribution.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anthony M. Faaborg on December 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would normally say that a book such as this should fail because of its faulty premises; however, Brookfield has managed to deliever an inspiring message in spite of the fact that his premises are, quite simply, wrong.

First, the good:

Brookfield offers 4 lenses for teachers to use as they become critically reflective about their own teaching practices: an autobiographical lens, the lens of colleagues, and of students, and of theory and research. Brookfield gives quite a bit of detail in both what these lenses mean and how to use them. Taken as a whole, the lenses offer a chance for true transformation, as teachers are exposed to the whole of themselves and how they can realize their goals (and dreams) by improving their practice. The book is no less than a handbook for excellence, offered in the form of 4 "tools" to achieve that excellence.

Now, the bad:

Brookfield never defines what "Critically Reflective" really means! He talks about it, and he describes what happens when one becomes critically reflective, but he never comes out and describes the central term that is the title of his book!

Brookfield also appears to be wholely focused on the notion that critical reflection involves finding out how power relationships manifest in the classroom. This miopic viewpoint becomes pedantic in the first chapters and does a dis-service to Brookfield's aim.

Finally, Brookfield totally misuses the terms "assumption" and "hegemony." According to Brookfield ssumptions are all about power, and hegemonies are ideas that are taken as true but are later found to be detrimental to learning efforts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CrystalF on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I first read "Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher" as a part of my Master's curriculum. At that time, I was evaluating and teaching pre-service education students how to be more effective in their teaching. This book transformed the message I was able to send to them. I was able to demonstrate the importance of teaching in a way that many of us were not taught at school: to encourage and foster participation in our own learning. A few years later I read it again, while working on my PhD. This time around I focused on improving my evaluation techniques. Since then, I have taken a new career path as an HR consultant for a fortune 500 organization. And yet again, I find myself flipping through the pages of this book to help me improve our messaging. I find it interesting that a book, most closely aligned with education principles and practices, is so relevant in the broader spectrum. Anyone who is looking to improve the value of their contributions can draw meaning from these lessons. Strongly recommend!
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