Holistic, Inclusive, Student-Centered Teaching Philosophy
Promotes art to all ages as a tool for self-reflection, critical thinking, and community-building.
Prioritizes student health and wellbeing.
Honors each student’s search for an enriched and meaningful existence.
Promotes self-direction, vigorous exchange of ideas, and innovative solutions to creative problems.
Emphasizes success broadly in terms of “significant learning.”
My primary roles as an educator are to nurture each student’s search for an enriched and meaningful existence and to promote art as a tool for critical thinking across disciplines. I encourage my students to develop personal methodologies of self-directed curiosity, discipline and creativity, while embracing an approach of mentorship within my teaching philosophy. It’s critical for me to be accessible and provide support to each student. Serving as a mentor promotes respect for individual direction, a vigorous exchange of ideas, and diverse solutions to creative challenges. I offer mentorship to students through formal and informal, one-on-one progress reviews.
It is also critically important for students to feel supported by their peer group. I foster a sense of community and trust among the students in my classrooms through facilitated and informal peer reviews–encouraging honest and insightful critical feedback between students. Group discussions and critiques promote critical dialog, provide valuable feedback, and help students establish assertive conceptual positions within each of their art practices. With this support from their instructor and their peers, students become confident, insightful makers and problem-solvers.
The structure of my courses progresses from technical and conceptual exercises to increasing levels of self-direction and independent research. This progression builds confidence and competence in preparation for more self-directed creative work. In introductory courses, I introduce new skills through demonstrations and hand-on exercises. At each level, students are exposed to the diversity of practices within the art field and gain a contextual familiarity of historic and contemporary traditions, movements, and theories. Visits to exhibitions further help students to position their work within these contexts. Facilitated discussions, supplemental articles, theoretical texts, and written responses aim to challenge preconceptions while situating the ceramic discipline within greater contemporary discourses of Art and Craft.
As my students advance in their art practices, I evaluate their engagement with craftsmanship and concept, but emphasize success broadly in terms of significant learning¹. Through this approach, students feel confident in applying foundational knowledge; energized by their development; and empowered to integrate senses of accountability to themselves, their field, and their community into their work.
I regularly assess my impact as an educator through reflection on formal student evaluations and candid feedback. I adjust my teaching strategies accordingly.
1. Fink, L D. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, Jossey-Bass, 2003.