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One of many one page teaching philosophies I've written the past year.

My teaching philosophy grows out of the idea of investing and engaging with place; specifically the places in our midst--where we exist and what we call home. The study of architecture and the process of design do not exist in a vacuum, meaning the built environment that surrounds us is a shared resource and experience. It has social, spatial, economic, and environmental ramifications. I believe taking these lessons and making observations about our own backyards have just as much, if not more, relevancy than things studied from afar. Using the surrounding city as a lab in which to explore-- we observe & respond.

First come observations, then comes the design "process" itself. When teaching entry-level studios, I often see students struggle with how and why to design something. Studio instructors are in the position to help students discover and more clearly articulate their own process. One of the most standard and effective ways to do this is through the act of documentation. The more carefully and truthfully students document an idea--2-D drawings, 3-D models, eye level perspectives shown in context, etc-- the more the questions one poses begin to answer themselves. Helping a student garner self confidence in their own ability to document an idea and analyze the result is of great importance, as well as presenting an idea that is communicable to others.

I believe in encouraging communication and dialogue amongst students. The larger shared dialogue is enriched when students engage with each other and share their own empirical knowledge. Just as unique qualities do more to create a sense of place than redundancies, my teaching philosophy/ methods recognize that diversity can enhance students' educational experience. But to do this, diversity must first be valued. One way of looking at it would be to recognize the fact that each student has their own story of who they are and how they came to be there. The more the stories that can be brought to bear, the more enriching the educational experience is--and the closer the picture within the classroom begins to reflect the reality outside the classroom.

I recognize the fact that intelligence itself is diverse--and that there is no one right way to teach or learn. Though it is impossible to tailor every lesson to each individual, I've found making one's self approachable and actively soliciting feedback from the students themselves--well before the end of a term--can go a long way towards achieving this goal.

Last but not least, I believe my responsibility as a design instructor is to help students discover what they love about the discipline. It is important to share my experiences amidst the realities of the profession, as well as share what it is I love about it, and in the process, help the students find and articulate what they love about it. Architecture can be challenging in so many ways-- it should not be sugar coated. No matter, I see the architectural educational process as pretty awesome--it can prepare someone who takes it on for a myriad of possibilities--and who doesn't like possibilities....

Teaching Philosophy B
2011