Teaching Philosophy

I view myself as an artist as well as an educator. These
roles are equal in importance and in many ways directly enrich each other. As
an artist, I strive to synthesize and translate knowledge through the universal
language that is art. As an educator, I strive to encourage the need to pursue such
knowledge and guide them through the translation process. By way of appreciation
and active participation in our visual culture, I push my students to step out
of the role of viewer and into the role of creator. As an educator, my goal is to cultivate an environment from
which students can gain the necessary skills to truly appreciate art, create
art and become producing artists if they so choose.  My classroom is a construction of studio
practice, discussion, lecture, and hands on learning. I approach my own studio
practice with the same interdisciplinary style as I do my teaching. Knowledge
is by default interdisciplinary: perception, skill sets, and methods build upon
each other and are applicable across many medias and subjects. The balance of
hands-on discovery learning, student-oriented critiques and group discussions
that emphasize social and personal awareness are the building blocks to for a beginning
artist. Under my instruction, students can take in information, process it, and
manipulate it to represent their own views and present it to an audience with
success. My students are encouraged to approach art as a form in
which to explore interests, issues, and themes that relate to them and their
world. The Carolina Core Introduction to Painting experience is about
exploration of materials, subject, and tools. I teach these areas with
historical and traditional accuracy and juxtapose the information with contemporary
techniques to keep the content exciting and relevant. This structure has a fluidity
as well as a cognitive component between skills and thought with time. This encourages
students to investigate how a variety media can speak differently to a concept
and which medium is best to communicate their ideas and how different mediums
have served in such ways. Technical skill must always be the goal to conceptual
knowledge. Without technological knowledge, a student will feel stunted on
their path to successfully executing their ideas. By embedding the instruction
of skills needed within conceptual prompts for assignments, students get
excited about their ideas first, which instills the want and desire to work
through the challenges of learning a new skill. It is part of the student’s
responsibility to employ the techniques that best suit their work, thereby
promoting a self-reliance in making important decisions.Throughout my minimal experiences as an educator, I have
learned much about the practice of teaching. One of the most important aspects
I have learned is that each student is unique. Individual students are driven
by different means and to different ends. What might work for one student may
not work for another – even an approach that worked for a student at the
beginning level might not work for that same student as they develop as an
artist. Considering this, I employ a range of different pedagogical methods and
work to better understand the needs of individual students and employ varying
methods at different points in their development.Through openness, humor, support, and conversation, I activate
a space where my students understand they are free to express themselves
through their work. The most effective way for a student to do is through
questioning themselves and being questioned about what they are creating in the
studio and then making connections with knowledge they posses and learn. For
example, in a recent assignment I structured the prompt in such a way that the
students had to situate themselves in the position of a cave man or woman to
create a cave painting. They created the materials they would use authentically
to the period and crafted their own cave wall. Immediately after, I juxtaposed cave
art with contemporary graffiti art. I then prompted them to create a culturally
relevant version of their cave story in downtown Columbia, SC. In this
environment, my students quickly realize they are free to explore how materials
and processes can be merged and that different materials carry with them
different connotations.

The pockets of my teaching apron are armed only with my
professional experiences in the classroom and as an active artist. Having a
strong base of knowledge and experiences are a good starting point for my
philosophy of teaching, however I feel that a willingness to be flexible and
let my philosophy evolve is most important. My teaching is informed by my
personal and professional growth and therefore I strive to be well versed in
new developments in the field, to be an ongoing participant in the art
community, and actively exhibiting my artwork. With this evolving knowledge base,
I can assure my students they are receiving the best possible education I can
offer.