“Students want to know their teachers stand for something”


Brookfield states “students what to know their teachers stand for something and have something useful and important to offer, but they also want to be able to trust and rely on them” (Brookfield p.55). When students describe teachers they recall the “memorable and significant teachers, students rarely talk the language of effectiveness” (Brookfield p. 55). It is about trust and the teacher that helped them ‘get’ something important” (Brookfield p. 55). They perceive a teacher as being effective “because she combines the element of having something important to say or demonstrates the element of being open and honest with students” (Brookfield p.55). Adult learners want to have confidence that the material they are learning is relevant and that they are being treated as adults.

In completing many critical incident questionnaires Brookfield found that students identified “two general clusters of preferred teacher characteristics” (Brookfield p. 56). These two characteristics are; credibility and authenticity. Students identified credibility as “the perception that the teacher has something important to offer. They are seen as possessing a breadth of knowledge, depth of insight, sophistication of understanding and length of experience that far
exceeds the student’s own” (Brookfield p. 67). Authenticity, “is defined as the perception that the teacher is open and honest in her attempts to help students learn” (Brookfield p. 68). The student believes that they can “trust the teacher to be honest and helpful” (Brookfield p. 68). She shows “passion, enthusiasm, frailties and emotions” (Brookfield p. 56). Students believe that both of these characteristics must be present in the teacher to enhance their learning. By utilizing classroom assessment technique will prevent you from deviating off in one direction.


I chose this quotation as I felt it was essential to learn more about how the learners perceive their instructors and what they want their instructors to stand for. My goal as an adult educator is to be an effective skillful teacher in achieving the best outcomes for the learners. I have learned and experienced that “no one teaching model fits all occasions in which teaching and learning takes place” (Galbraith & Jones).

Adult educators often enter the learning environment with little or no formal education in the role of educator. They “develop authenticity in their teaching over time and with experience” (Cranton). Both Cranton and Brookfield believe that authenticity develops through engaging in critical self-reflection. Whereas Freire “argues that that authenticity comes through having critical knowledge of the context within which we work and seeing the principal contradictions of
that society” (Cranton).

I was offered a job as an adult educator with no formal training or education in the role of an adult educator. Upon reflecting on my early teaching assignments I question how effective I was in the learning environment? Did I display credibility and authenticity? As a nurse I have always engaged in critical self-reflection and engaged in lifelong learning. It is imperative to continue engaging in these as an adult educator.

With experience in the adult learning environment I have been able to display credibility to my leaners by displaying; expertise in the subject matter, experience in the field, rationales, and convictions. Examples are; expertise, I demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge on the subject matter. This enables me to welcome questions and answer them with confidence.And to deal with unexpected events in the learning environment with control and confidence. Experience, I relate the learning concepts to practice stories and include providing rationales for my decision making. This enables the learner to see the relevance of learning the material and gives them the ability to understand my decision making skills and critical thinking skills. Rationale, I provide rationales for my decisions, reasons, and actions in classroom decisions.
This builds confidence with the learners. Conviction is demonstrated by ensuring the learner understands the concepts or topic. This is done by providing constructive feedback to the learners on an ongoing basis.

I display authenticity in the learning environment by displaying; congruence, full disclosure, responsiveness, and personhood. Examples are; congruence, by using class assessment techniques in the learning environment. This enables me to review how effective my instructional strategies are for the learners. And allows me to revisit or review a subject matter or concept. Full disclosure is displayed by providing a syllabus which includes grading criteria, dates of evaluations including the type of evaluation, stating the learning objective of each session. I review this on the first session of the course. I will review each evaluation prior to the date of the evaluation. I provide the learning objectives at the beginning of each class on the overhead projector. This builds trust with the learners that I have outlined and communicated
learner expectations. Responsiveness is shown by listening to the learners concerns or suggestions regarding the course. This includes the effectiveness of my instructional strategies. I use classroom assessment techniques to determine the effectives of my teaching. I am responsive to the learners concerns, suggestions and how the learners are perceiving my instruction. This does not mean that I will always change, but will provide a rationale to the learners why I can’t change it.


By researching this quotation for this journal entry has validated that there are no standardized principles for effectiveness in the learning environment. I have gained insight that there are two important characteristics of an adult educator, credibility and authenticity. “Credibility has four common indicators; expertise, experience, rational and conviction” (Brookfield p. 58). “Authenticity has four common indicators; congruence, full disclosure, responsiveness, and personhood” (Brookfield p. 67). “Self-awareness is an essential component for understanding ourselves as a teacher of adults” (Galbraith & Jones).

The understanding I have from this assignment is that I do display credibility and authenticity in the learning environment. Prior to completing this assignment I was not aware that my actions were revealing credibility and authenticity to the learners.


“Self-awareness is an essential component in becoming a skillful teacher of adults. Self-awareness is the foundation for your philosophical orientation or vision for mechanism for enhancing authenticity and credibility of yourself as a teacher with your adult learners, and a guide for your teaching perspective” (Cranton).

To validate that I am displaying credibility and authenticity I will implement critical incident questionnaires into the learning environment. This will provide me information on how the learners are perceiving my instruction and me as a teacher.

“Good teaching should be a balance of understanding one’s self as a teacher and knowing how to develop learning encounters that are meaningful and useful in the promotion of personal and processional growth” (Galbraith & Jones). As an adult educator I need to continue to engage in professional development.


Brookfield, Stephen, D., (2006), The Skillful Teacher On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness
In The Classroom . Jossey-Bass .

Cranton, Patricia, Living a Critical Life through Authenticity, Retrieved from

Galbraith, Michael, W., Jones, Melanie, S., (2008), First Things First in Becoming a Teacher of
Adults, Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ891070.pdf

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