Amanda S. Almon, M.F.A. C.M.I.
Teaching Philosophy Teaching and learned knowledge comes from the foundation of personal growth, enlightenment through research and experience. Teaching is a craft that is in constant flux with new knowledge gained by our past experiences recorded through our eyes, with the goal of successful engagement with our students. The more diversity a teacher brings to the classroom, the more the students become involved in the experience of new knowledge and discourse with the professor and each other.
Every student has a diverse and unique background; they learn differently and produce varied artistic outcomes. As a teacher, I encourage my students to be self-motivated, be innovative thinkers, be professional and be collaborative inside and outside the classroom. Values of theory, inquiry, research, and experimentation in new media, methods, and subjects are a part of a routine practice in lectures, critiques and demonstrations in my courses. I encourage students to use information to empower their decisions in their artistic practice. I work to foster a community of confidence, exploration and cross disciplinary research and study. I believe the more philosophical and critical tools a student can learn, the more they are apt to become future leaders in visual communications (within fine arts, applied arts, or a melting pot of both spectrums.) It is important that a teacher constantly evaluates and reflects on their students’ goals, interests, and personal narratives, because it helps inform the dialogue within the course. I encourage and emphasize confidence in each student with hopes that they will understand and witness themselves developing as successful artists and designers.
The value of adapting new learning/teaching modules, finding alternative media delivery systems for lectures, and the implementation of new technology in the classroom (both as a learning tool and new media for visual communications) is an important goal of my instruction. I believe in choosing the most appropriate media (digital, tactile, or both) to solve the visual problem. I encourage the artistic practice of experimentation with tools in technology (from 3D Modeling, Animation, Gaming, Interactive Installation etc.) These tools provide the student with the ability to self-learn, explore, ask questions and push conventions. I engage and question the students to mix media to find the best visual solutions for their concepts. With this I challenge students to consider the appropriateness of their choice of media and their intentions. It is important for the students to be comfortable discussing their work, research and artistic practice as it relates to contemporary culture in both fine and applied arts.
An educator and needs to be a filter of many areas of study, interpretations of critical theory, philosophy, science, medicine and art historical ideas become a part of the fabric of knowledge that helps guide a student through their development. I further encourage my students to explore traditional ideas and incorporate their own contemporary concepts, conventions and research practice into their art. I strive for my students not to replicate ideas but rather understand them and challenge them in the academic and professional environments. It is important for the teacher to act as a role model in many areas of personal knowledge, social practice, and community outreach. The value of a teacher’s honesty, integrity and individual studio practice, and professional development help shape coursework, evolve new practices and enrich the University community. The students notice when a course changes, improves or is removed. It is important not to have a stagnant curriculum without the incorporation of new ideas, opinions and research. Evolution of ideas is a part of knowledge, growth and change.
By continuing to demand high expectations in my own professionalism, students become motivated to attain the high expectations for their academic work and establish high personal goals as they begin their careers. My individual practice of enthusiasm for continued learning, innovation in art, science, medicine, technology and refinement of my scholarship in both teaching and art; have helped me develop new ideas for curriculum, majors and departments. The students and faculty are an integral part of a University’s success, growth and the future of our changing environment and culture.