My approach to teaching emphasizes the combination of research, self-reflection, and the ability to benefit from constructive criticism as skills students will need to succeed as they advance through their education and in their endeavors after graduation. I work to help students reach their goals in the classroom by presenting challenges and providing the tools and support needed to meet these challenges. My class projects, discussions, and critiques are designed to develop students’ technical skill, openness to exploration, concept development, and critical thinking.
Proper technique is the most tactile of the skills that I teach. My goal is to instruct students in the correct methods of tool usage, material properties, and the language necessary to be successful in the studio. It is my belief that a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of the studio creates a strong foundation for creative exploration and growth. I encourage students to experiment with materials and concepts. I feel developing the ability to problem solve is incredibly important, and continual trial and error in the studio reinforces that skill. With regard to conceptual development, my goal is to assist students in pushing ideas further, making work stronger, in order to achieve success at a high level. With regard to critical thinking, I aim to cultivate the ability to analyze and communicate the strong and weak elements of an artwork through group discussions and critiques. The ability to analyze one’s own creative works as well as others will benefit students as they pursue their degrees and as professionals after graduation.
Throughout each course, I introduce projects through slide shows accompanied by providing physical examples in the studio and demonstration of technique. Presenting in progress and finished example pieces that can be handled is very valuable to my teaching practice. I believe showing the stages preceding finished work reduces the intimidation of learning a new process, and makes learning more comfortable. I see the sampling process as a method of creating an inclusive classroom. The challenge of a technique can be intimidating, and creating a space for all types of learners to succeed will lead to greater student success.
I support student success in the classroom by providing thorough examples of professional and student work, diverse influences from artists of different backgrounds and styles, literature, demonstrations, and keeping an approachable persona and attitude. Assessment through class critiques, oral and written feedback is necessary to help a student succeed, but I also place importance on peer-to-peer critiques. I do this to emphasize that my assessment is not only about my response, but that is about how the artwork communicates with others. I feel that peer critiques generate inclusiveness in the classroom and a feeling of ownership of the workspace.
Over the course of a semester I intend for my projects to continually build upon each other to increase the students’ skill, confidence, and understanding of the process. My goal is to incubate and advance students’ interest in setting and achieving goals to become a stronger artist and maker. I intend to support students with clear instruction, informative demonstrations, beneficial presentations and strong mentorship.