Teaching Philosophy

Demonstrating at the High School of the Arts in Savannah, GA.

Demonstrating gold leafing at the High School of the Arts in Savannah, GA.

Robert Weisberg formulated a theory that loosely states: “to become a ‘master’ in any
subject, one needs 10,000 hours of practice.” While students may not completely master
drawing within the span of one semester, they will begin to understand that art is more
than just a product, but also an experience that requires concentration, persistence and
practice.
To encourage working towards their 10,000 hours, I require that students record a
minimum amount of working time while completing assignments. Students are instructed
to keep a log of the hours they have invested in the assignment up to the day of the
critique. The required hours for each assignment continue to increase as the semester
progresses. For example, the first assignment requires at least 2 hours of time, the next
will require 3 to 5 hours. Using this method I find that the quality of work improves and
students have discovered a new form of creativity through perseverance and problem
solving.
Assessment is performance-based and involves observing students’ progression over the
duration of a course. Each student is graded using rubrics on a personal basis maintaining
sensitivity to individual skill level and learning needs. Throughout the course, students
compare the earlier assignments with mid-point work. A “timeline” of their work is
submitted in portfolio format making progress visibly evident.
While the conceptual aspect art creation is important, students primarily learn best by
doing in the beginning of their art-based studies. Strong art foundation courses serve as
an opportunity to gain an understanding of various materials and mediums, reveals
technical strengths and areas in need of improvement, and encourages discipline in studio
practice. Towards the conclusion of their foundations courses students should understand
that effort and discipline are important elements in technical strength and creativity.

 

I also encourage the active participation outside of the classroom. Attending art shows
and artist talks demonstrates that their work is not limited to studio time or critiques; this
provides a wider look into the art world. Utilizing on-line class blogs is an effective
method for incorporating technology with art theory and studio practice through critical
thinking.
Learning is an enlightening dialog between student and teacher. With encouraging and
creative instruction the college classroom can transform from being a distant environment
and grow into an open exchange of experiences and growth.

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