My teaching philosophy is based on creating a nurturing environment where students can meet their full potential. I believe there are five essential elements needed to provide a high-quality learning experience:
- The teacher is a facilitator of learning whose role is to act as a guide.
- Every classroom has its own unique community and open communication encourages all students to grow in new and unexpected directions.
- Follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance standards and foster a climate of inclusion and diversity.
- Create a well-balanced course that addresses all learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic learners.
- Encourage interactive, meaningful, experiential learning.
I have been a Community College Art Instructor for 16 years, teaching virtual, hybrid, and seated coursework in Art Appreciation, Art History, 20th Century Crafts History, Craft Marketing, Ceramics, Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Design. I find there is a common misconception that the best way to foster creativity is simply to get out of the way; on the contrary, I’ve found that students, especially virtual learners, will flounder without interaction with their teachers.
Cultivating creativity is a balancing act: how much structure versus freedom, when to step back, and when to intervene are matters of teaching style. My approach is to offer ongoing encouragement and individual help as needed. Evaluations and critiques help students talk out ideas, ask questions and build relationships, all of which foster a sense of community. I am passionate about my craft and learn as much from my students as they learn from me.
Lastly, I blend the textbook with meaningful learning to keep students engaged. Rote learning helps students form a foundation of knowledge, but only when paired with meaningful learning through hands on activities and the analysis of art objects, does it provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter and the ability to make connections. My goal is to instill a love of lifelong learning and inspire students to live artful lives.