I teach from the position that learning, researching, designing, and making are quintessential processes of being. Creativity is informed by awareness that includes our knowledge of the world and how we see ourselves within it. All of my favorite teachers inspired passion, drive, wonder, and encouraged growth as they transmitted new ideas or provided timely synthesis. They helped to reveal the responsibilities and duties of discovering and expressing an informed self in the practice of creativity. I aspire to be a successful mentor and to support and inspire students’ educational goals within their creative practices. My approach as a facilitator is reflected in my flexible use of the learning environment that includes: demonstrations, design thinking, projects, lectures, conferencing, just-in-time instruction, group discussions, critique, and asynchronous supplemental material repositories. Teaching and learning neither begin nor end in the classroom. Every instance, or space, can be an opportunity to support discovery and investigation.
My objectives as a teacher of creative practices begin with imparting fundamentals of visual design, project planning, and production skills. In a field with fast-paced, ever-changing tools, principles of good design and the ability to learn new skills guide the creative decision-making process. Exposing students to a wide range of artists, designers, media, and interdisciplinary works promotes the discovery of interests, opinions, techniques, and history. In turn, that process demonstrates how art and design reflect and confirm cultural practices and helps students to engage as mindful and aware participants within local and global communities. I encourage my students to support one another’s interests through a crowdsourcing model for resource sharing and find that this approach creates more of a dialog between students in and out of the studio. My hope for all students is that through the acquisition of fundamental skills, problem-solving strategies, senses of fairness and justice, and knowledge of history, their creative explorations will become modes of identity and sites for critical engagement with their intellectual curiosities as they add their energy to the construction of a more just world.
Because conceptualization and planning serve a major role in all forms of production, I encourage students to chronicle their thoughts and disparate ideas through journaling. A perusal through a journal at just the right time may trigger a project concept. I employ the use of active brainstorming, sketching, sketch models, charrettes, and design synectics for ideation and iteration. Prior to production on projects, I require students to meet with me individually to review their pre-production plans, concepts, and sketches. I insist that students articulate and hone their ideas in speech, in writing, and in visual media. My assessment of students is primarily completed through presentations, writing assignments, and projects. Class presentations and writing assignments require students research and introduce their precedents to the peer group. In each studio, I typically assign a few mini-projects using briefs and a final project that requires a pre-production plan and must demonstrate what the student has learned over the duration of the course. As a responsible and respectful teacher, I aim to inspire students’ preoccupations and help them arrive at the necessary motivation to implement their concepts into meaningful projects and experiences.