Teaching PhilosophyI enjoy learning and I enjoy sharing knowledge. Knowledge is the mechanism that allows ideas to be made manifest. Every new bit of technical information, every new technique, is another tool in a student’s arsenal. If I have gained the knowledge to implement my ideas, without hindrance to my creativity, why wouldn’t I want to share that knowledge? Why would I want to sit back and allow someone else’s idea fail to see the light of day because they lack the tools to make it happen? This is why I learn. This is why I teach.
In the field of digital media, learning is especially important. Because the felid itself is constantly evolving, so to must the practitioners advance their understanding of it in order to just stay even. Thus continuous learning is inherent in the foundation digital practice. A new media practitioner that does not research does not exist. My teaching methodology involves first allowing the student to come to this realization. One needs to have an appetite for knowledge in order to be successful. A student will learn infinitely faster if there is something they really want to discover. If it is possible, I’ll bring my students’ personal learning objectives inline with my teaching goals, and in turn, I will lean my lessons toward what my students are already interested in. If the same technical, theoretical and conceptual knowledge can be applied to a student’s original idea, rather than a canned assignment, then it is time to allow some self-expression into the mix.
Educators often forget the importance of fun. It is not that learning needs to be made fun, but rather learning needs to be allowed to be fun. Creating something that is your own is inherently rewarding. This is the natural state. I believe it is my job to add enough structure to facilitate this learning process but not so much as to hinder it. This is a hard balance and requires constant and open communication with my students. Everything is up for discussion. Group discussion, class discussion, sharing knowledge and working with peers is something I believe is important to learn early and learn well. By incorporating both solo and group projects into a single class, I help students realize that the satisfaction of personal achievement can be extended into collective achievement. One part of the reward is discovering things on your own; the other part is sharing what you learned with your colleagues.
The entire journey from a project’s inception to its completion isn’t always fun, but together we learn to celebrate the little victories along the way. Every discussion isn’t always agreeable, but we gain insight from the differing perspectives of others and expand our sense of understanding by working with them. The back and forth, the trial and error, it’s all part of the learning experience. It’s all part of the road that makes the accomplishment of learning, a goal worth pursuing
- John Bruneau