Teaching Philosophy

If you spend any time as a professor, you’ll likely have to write up a Philosophy of Teaching. These are often filled with wordy idealistic notions and complex jargon that only educators really understand (and some of them not very well). So, I’m going to tear this down into common everyday language for students. That is what this particular statement is about: what you as a student might want to know about my teaching approach.

First, I’m not going to spoon-feed you information. You have Google and (dare I hope!) your textbooks for that. Google is especially great for getting disconnected tidbits of information that may or may not actually help you learn anything. My job is to help you understand how all of this material comes together. There is a difference between knowledge and information; and I hope to help you see that.

The education process requires you to do some of the work. Your education is what you make of it. Simply coming to class isn’t going to teach you a lot about a topic – at least not in regard to digital media, art, design, or coding. I am going to assume that you are an active participant in this process. In my courses, you have to actually do things as well as study.

I love it when people ask me questions. Increasingly, I find students are unwilling to do this in a public forum. Perhaps you are worried about what others will think – and I can’t really speak to that – but I can say that I will respect and answer your question. I won’t go so far as to say that there is no such thing as a stupid question. That is a platitude (look it up!), and I assure you there are many stupid questions. I can safely say this because I, myself, have asked many of them. But I learned quite a bit from that process, and I would suggest that you likely would as well.

Which leads me to my final point: you can learn a lot from failure. So I will present you with some problems/projects/activities that will create a very real likelihood for failure. This means you may need to try and try again to get the work done in a fashion that both you and I are satisfied with. Take this as a challenge and an opportunity, and stop worrying about your GPA.

So, I’m here to help guide you toward common understandings. I’ll do that by shaping some broad boundaries within which we can do our work. And, I’ll help you evaluate your work so that you understand how its strong and why it’s weak. That’s my part in this process.

TL;DR: I’m not going to spoon-feed you information. Your education is what you make of it. I love it when people ask me questions. You can learn a lot from failure.