Teaching Philosophy
I am a strong believer and advocate of creating a space for open communication. In a discipline that is centered around both providing and receiving criticism / feedback, it is important to maintain a dynamic that improves students' skills both to question and answer.
In the classroom, my role is to help foster reflection and listening. The critique is thus a space not to be only taken up by my own opinions, but the whole class as a group of individuals. This is accomplished through questions that help students think critically and participate in the classroom. The questions I ask relate to decision-making and how those decisions relate to the work conceptually and technically as well as how it relates to others.
Similarly, I do not believe myself to be the arbiter of good or bad design. In a collection of voices that speak in critiques, it is my responsibility to encourage respectful disagreements without toxicity and harsh judgements. Through open and thoughtful questions I can lead students into thinking critically on work, both their own and others'. This provides a setting that encourages student ownership and fosters confidence in their design work, presentation, and themselves.
I provide ample opportunities to present ideas and work. I employ different techniques throughout a course, such as the snowball discussion which allows for students to feel less intimidated to speak in front of the class. Encouraging participation will help improve students' presentation skills that they will be using both in the classroom and beyond in the workfield. These opportunities will also allow them to build their design vocabulary, their acumen to talk about design work, and their confidence, as they think reflectively on their current and past projects.
To further help establish a sense of community and a line of open communication between me and my students, I employ mandatory office hours. These serve as a check-in and allow me to understand my students as individuals as opposed to a singular student-body. Allowing for this established connection trickles upwards as trust is built. Students participate in the classroom more and are more willing to return for further feedback.
In short, my goal is to help students find their voice and prepare them to enter the field as critical thinkers. I know and understand that students are individuals and, as such, I know everyone's voice will be formed differently. Allowing students to explore, question, and answer prepares them for their future and they will leave my classroom with confidence in their approaches, whatever it may be.