Brookfield's assumptions of skillful teaching are as follows:
1. Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn.
2. Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice.
3. The most important knowledge that teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teacher's actions.
4. College students of any age should be treated as adults.
The first assumption is that the teacher should use whatever means possible to promote student learning. To me, this is only logical, and the basis of what every teacher should be doing in the first place! My job is to somehow get information out of my head and into theirs, in a way that makes sense to my students. The trouble with this is that every student and every class is unique to itself, and I therefore must be ready to adapt and change and teach to each student, each day, in the way that works best for them. I have not taught the same class twice the same way, because my students are different.
The next assumption is something that I have long considered a hindrance - critical reflection on each and everything I do! However, I do concur that when it occurs within the realms of teaching, understanding what worked and didn't work, and how to best amend one's understanding on their teaching, critical reflection is definitely a positive thing.
The third assumption that Brookfield brought up is indeed the one that I think is most important - to always see yourself and the material you are teaching through the eyes of the students in front of you. I remember years ago when I was teaching at an all-boys High school in Japan, one of the students came to me after class and said, "You are very aware of yourself, aren't you?". I have to say at first I didn't know what he meant, but after some pondering I realized that he was right. In the class, I am always aware of how I talk, how I move, how I explain concepts and especially what words I use to explain them. My hand gestures, facial gestures, are all somewhat contemplated while I am doing them. I don't know why, but I do know that everything we do, or don't do, is considered by our students so it is best to make everything we say and do, matter.
And lastly, the assumption that we should teach all college students as adults. I cannot say loudly enough that, in my humble opinion, teaching is not just about the syllabus. Perhaps it is different when teaching mature adults, but when it comes to teaching young adults just out of high school, a great deal of their education is life, not just the course they are taking. Getting young adults to take responsibility for their learning and interactions with other students, speaking respectfully, acting maturely, opening up their minds to really consider and value what their thoughts and feelings are (reflective thinking) is a big part of their education.
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.