Teaching Effectiveness: Philosophy
Reason to teach:
I am preparing students for professional lives as artists and finding ways to connect our art to community in a way that brings on positive change. The work that my students and I have made through EPIC tackles big problems, like K-12 education, the cycle of poverty, Global Climate Change and bullying.
Connections to community:
Giving students the opportunity to connect with their community through larger group projects gives the student a space to flourish, to develop a larger sense of themselves in the world. Through EPIC projects, my students have been able to seek outside of themselves to make media that has a purpose of engaging young minds in K-12 classrooms.
Connections also happen as students start to develop their style and seek mentorship with alum. Pointing students to working artists in the field has been an important method in my teaching. Students get this opportunity within class visits by professionals, school wide visiting artists and connecting with an alum that matches the goals of the student.
Show and tell:
Showing work is invaluable to the experience of learning, students learn form those who have gone before them and tackled similar problems, they are actually propelled forward by great solutions. I use Google Sites to show and tell with very clear information on the expectations for assignments from concept through technical details.
Competition and encouragement in the classroom:
We draw nearly every day to start the class session. I encourage students to take a "Walk Around" where we see how everyone handled the sketch assignment. I believe that healthy competition is good and motivates students to practice further. Encouragement has to balance the competition and I make a point to find effective methods in each student's work - to point these achievements out to their fellow students.
Examples in the classroom:
I teach by showing the student how I would do the project. In a rapidly changing technological environment this means that I have researched the latest tools for the job and understand and can demo these tools to the student through step by step in class instruction. When I demo I wait for everyone to understand the concept, I also provide step by step examples in writing and more recently have added to my video tutorial set to further encourage the student outside of the classroom. I plan on continuing this method of multiple ways of explaining the same thing. Each student learns in different ways and I want to provide a platform for learning that matches different learning styles.
Pursuit of excellence outside the classroom:
Providing spaces for students to gather, collaborate, and teach each other prove to be excellent teaching methods. I have sought to find these opportunities for students through the Digital Media HUB, the Digital Learning Center and the KCAD Game Club. Finding leaders in the student body and giving them the opportunity to teach others has expanded the learning zone, students feel comfortable asking for help not only in technical pursuits but artistic guidance as well.
Inspiration is something artists seem to struggle with. I encourage students to look all around them, find the hole in the industry and fill it - that is where entrepreneurship is seeded. We look on Pinterest and build libraries of helpful resources to help educate and inspire for each type of project. Each project requires finding benchmarks - contemporary style markers that help to guide the artist or designer towards an appropriate goal.
A very effective method of communication with my students is the draw on. Art direction requires showing students respectfully ways to add more purpose, action or a better pose to communicate the narrative.
Building from other's knowledge:
I don't know everything and I dare say that most people don't. I believe in leaving isolation aside and building from the community's strengths. In this technically and conceptually demanding field it is best to work with colleagues to help draw from each other's skill sets. I am proud to have been able to work with other faculty in the classroom where my expertise is not as strong and to return the favor too. Bringing in experts from the field of study has become invaluable in my classroom as students always find ways to step up to the plate when working with professionals.