As an instructor I view my role as guiding students into asking the right questions of themselves. I strive to promote critical thinking and research abilities. My teaching method breaks into three categories, skill building, conceptual development and research techniques.
In instructing technical skill I attempt to be clear and concise, utilizing both demonstrations and texts in my lessons. I engage students during class by asking questions; this approach pulls them into a more active role in the classroom. Students who are actively engaged in class achieve significantly better results than those learning through passive observation.
When instructing conceptual development my goal is to teach the student to ask themselves questions. Encouraging this internal dialogue promotes critical thinking and creates a base for more complex questions to be formulated upon. In addition to these types of questions I believe that providing students with a language with which to speak about their work is important. Art has its own set of words and by teaching vocabulary all students learn the same language, this helps students communicate with each other.
I believe that it is important to show students the necessity of research and knowing both the history surrounding a medium and the work of contemporary artists in the field and the surrounding fields are creating. No one makes art in a bubble and there is no need to reinvent the wheel, just as scientists build off other’s research artist do as well.
Good teaching to me involves leading by example. I believe that to make quality work you must make. And make and make and make. And then talk, and make and make and make. It is through repetition that analysis, critique and technical skills are solidified.
I hope that students leave my class with a not only a set of skills but a frame of reference and a state of mind to further their studies and a better understanding of how to learn. In the broadest sense I see my role as an instructor as showing students how to teach themselves.