Through learning about others we can learn about ourselves. As an artist and professor of studio art, it is my duty to guide students along their path as they explore the arts. My focus is on helping them to learn, rather than just dispensing my knowledge. This allows a student to become an independent, objective thinker, capable of creating innovative artwork that is their own. I encourage my students to experiment with the materials and concepts as they work to develop their own technique and skills.
In the classroom, students explore new mediums through a hands-on approach. Great emphasis is placed on the principles and history of art and the relevance they have on contemporary works. On the foundation level, I stress to the student to observe established works, look for inspiration in other disciplines and integrate their own ideas into the assignment. An early focus on design, technique, and craftsmanship allows the students to get a strong base to support later works. When the students have advanced on their technical knowledge the assignment parameters are broadened so they can explore and focus on concept. I believe that teaching in a traditional format with an interdisciplinary approach helps the students to create as well as to think.
At the start of each project, I moderate a discussion with the students as they present their ideas and inspiration to the class. After the discussion, students have time to develop a plan with supporting materials, such as drawings and/or models. I then give group demonstrations of the technical skills needed to complete the project. When the students begin working on their assignments, a peer assisting system is encouraged to foster a supportive classroom. This allows the students to help one another and gives me the time to work one on one with them. At the end of the project, group critique provides constructive feedback helping them to attain new levels of excellence.
When grading and providing feedback, I focus on individual advancement rather than a comparison between students. Students often are at different skill levels with various technical knowledge. Working with them to develop their unique skills and ways of learning helps them to grow. I stress to my students that their personal growth and development is the key to achieving high marks in my courses.
I tell my students to look everywhere because you never know where inspiration can be found. My students are often my inspiration. Through them my views are broadened, allowing me to grow as an artist and a teacher.