My Teaching Philosophy
My philosophy of teaching is based on a belief that learning needs to be student centered and that students need to be equal partners in the learning process. My role involves using my expertise to put the necessary resources in the hands of the students, to guide them through the learning process, self-discovery and expression of their ideas.
The fundamental drive to success for an artist is one’s inner calling. As a studio art educator, I provide guidance to students in searching and learning their place in the art world. I help them discover the passion and discipline that they need to pursue their desires. A firm knowledge of art history helps them to understand the connections between the past, the present, and the future, and leads to the creation of art that is significant to us, and the prospective audience. Understanding contemporary theories and thoughts prepares students to be successful artists.
Studio art teaching must touch upon many artistic concerns. At the foundation level, students begin to think about the ways in which their work affects and connects with the viewer. Technical and formal concerns should be considered first and foremost to provide the students with the basic tools necessary to create art on a purely aesthetic level. The art-making processes and techniques are important aspects of providing students the comfort and confidence to express their vision using the media of their choice. These foundation skills must be taught earnestly with the purpose of serving as the groundwork for all the other functions of art. Once students have learned a toolbox of art-making skills, I can introduce conceptual and expressive concerns by urging students to consider their artistic intent before starting the art-making process.
Helping students to find their own voice in their art is a greater challenge. Diversity has made our world a rich and colorful society. I encourage students to embrace their own cultures and backgrounds, since these have shaped their moral values and standards, and then to embed their unique vision into their concept development, research, and story-telling process. This results in innovative artwork that expresses their own voice and vision, which forms a unique emotional bridge that connects art to target viewers and society in general. I carefully nurture and cultivate this ability in my students by creating a safe space for them to listen to how their peers and professors relate to their creations without fear. My desired goal is that the academic process results in personal satisfaction and the ability to share verbally as well as visually.
Teaching and learning is a caring connection between an educator and students. I continuously inspire my students to create and evolve, through the college years and beyond. I utilize popular social media websites to connect and encourage my students even after their graduation. During my early professorship at Bunker Hill Community College, I created a private Facebook group “Do Art Daily” for my current and former students to use this private community to communicate, share their recent work, their learning experiences, and local art news. Recently, I created a public Facebook group “100 Monthly” to propose a challenge to my students, colleagues, and friends to create at least 100 artworks per month. This student-centered social group has received an overwhelming and positive response. I believe that a strong work ethic, persistence, and discipline are very important qualities for any working artist or for future educators. I want to see that these good qualities are instilled in my students, and so to their students in the future.
No matter what paths my students may take after graduation, they will have developed a professional attitude, openness and genuine knowledge that will guide them toward success. They will have learned the skills they will need in order to confront the challenges that lay before them. Helping my students to recognize their artistic strengths, build their skills, and develop confidence borne of knowledge and understanding is my honor and my reason for teaching.