One of the first lessons that new teachers learn is that it’s impossible to predict how well a workshop, lecture or discussion will work. Teaching is situational. What works well in one class might not work in another. That’s why Stephen D. Brookfield, one of the most respected scholars in adult learning theory, says that skillful teaching requires a “constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving our teaching” (35) and then making informed pedagogic decisions. He advocates taking a research-based approach to monitoring students’ experiences and has developed an assessment tool called the “Critical Incident Questionnaire.”
Stephen D. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher: on Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 2006), 2.