I've had a few people ask to see my teaching philosophy; and although it is always a work in progress, here is my current philosophy for anyone who may be interested, or in need of ideas to write their own.
ARTIST TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Art is an integral part of the human experience. Its universal value is established in cultures throughout the world. Consequently, art and craft need to play an essential role in the education of students. As a teacher, I integrate critical thinking skills, design, and problem solving while focusing on the practice of art in a contemporary, as well as a historical context. The challenges posed by an art teacher can greatly enhance a student’s ability to take those critical thinking skills and apply them to many other disciplines such as mathematics, science, and the complexities of everyday life. Art is one of those special disciplines that challenges us in both manual dexterity and conceptual thinking. The practice of creating enables us to express our emotions, thoughts, and philosophies while requiring us to solve complex problems, keeping our minds probing and inventing. Art can be a documentation of our history; it can be personal, healing, political, an advertisement, design, or simply a study of our environment. My enthusiasm for my own creative process and work overflows into my excitement to share that knowledge and drive with my students.
Ceramics is a discipline in which craft is highly emphasized. Craft is a valid and important part of the historical and contemporary ceramic world. In my classroom, students learn the importance of both craft and function, and how it plays a role in contemporary ceramics. However, I also feel it is equally valuable to approach ceramics as an art medium. Clay is a material with infinite possibilities, and by introducing multiple views on the use of this medium, I believe it prompts students to reach for discoveries found outside the tradition.
I have many objectives in my teaching. One of my goals is to give students the sound technical training needed to develop work while simultaneously teaching them how to formulate and articulate the ideas behind the objects they are creating. Having strong foundation skills and a sense of design, thought, and philosophy are important components to any practice in the arts. By sharing my knowledge of ceramics with my students, it is my hope that someday they will be able to go even further with their own explorations in the field than I have.
It is important for me to present information both with enthusiasm and in an understandable manner that promotes drive and curiosity. A class needs to be well structured in combination with flexibility on the teachers’ part for the presentation of materials and projects. I believe that all teachers need to be open to learning from their students, in order to evolve and grow as mentors. It is important to listen, observe, and respond to the needs of your students. In presenting information to a class, you must be knowledgeable of both the materials and processes you are teaching, as well as of their history. It is important to know where an idea came from, how it has developed over time, and how it continues to develop.
Art and craft play an immense role in our world; therefore, their inclusion in education should be pursued wholeheartedly. They nurture us while giving expression and meaning to our lives, helping us shape our innermost thoughts. Through my teaching, I hope to inspire students to reach their own creative potential.