a resource for moving poetry
Source: About Us
a resource for moving poetry
Source: About Us
Retreats! Give a look at this post by a fellow blogger…
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
We start the journey of “life beginning over again” with stopping and renewing ourselves. One of the biggest
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Increasingly, schools that advertise for positions in higher education ask for a teaching philosophy. It seems simple at first blush, but putting together a teaching philosophy can be daunting, especially at first.
If you are minting your first version of your teaching philosophy, there are some things that you will want to consider. First, the document should be broad so that it can encompass a world of issues. In many ways less is more, but perhaps even more importantly, efficient is best. But are there really any rules? If there are any, no one gives them up. Like that helps on your first go-round, right?
You might feel like you have no idea what your teaching philosophy is about, but you in fact do, even if you don’t know it. For example, you do know how bad teachers have impacted your learning over the years, right? So given a negative, you might be able to work from that in order to begin thinking about what it was that you didn’t like in their teaching and correct for that. The corrected version, then, is you.
Now think about the things that all the best teachers you have had embodied. Think about all the things they did and said, or maybe didn’t bother to do (which could be just as important) and think about what those things meant from a teaching perspective. Let’s say you had a teacher that always listened to you and always encouraged you to talk about your work without interrupting you or inserting hard critical advice at a time when it wasn’t needed or wanted. Maybe that. Or it could be that no matter what, you know they had your back. Or how they conveyed technical information. And you know, you might find that some of the characteristics come down to character, to personality. And you know, how about that? How might personality play into it? Truth is, you can’t teach personality, right? So what might that have to do with teaching and a philosophy? Now I hope its obvious that I am not saying that you try and address personality, I am of course using it as an example. A what if. You, you have to deal with what is. and I hope I can help you see a little clearer when we are done.
I will give you some examples that I know were operative in my life. I had a great high school art teacher. I was increasingly showing interest in 3-D work and this meant that I was veering off the beaten path since most kids in high school were 2-D and thus often did projects together as a group. But me, I was suddenly hungry for 3-D. So when I asked about what was possible, my teacher told me how I could throw clay and fire it using the kiln and pottery wheel. We had a few glazes. I could do stained glass, small projects. I could do a kind of jewelry work cutting copper sheet and polishing it. So I took off on all three of these things. She gave me the barest of demo’s with each. She kind of showed me the way and I took off on my own pretty much. I liked that. And for me, it was a perfect approach. In time what I learned was that as a teacher was that we learn by doing, and art is certainly “doing” for sure. It led me to examine the fine line between needing to know when to convey information and when to stand out of the way and let the student do it. So this experience was huge for me. It was all the bigger because this teacher was highly esteemed by nearly every student who darkened her door. Catherine Pauley. She was, and is, the best.
I also had a number of very good teachers in college, and each of them form the basis of the things that I try to do with students.
But just as a teacher can give, another can take away, and I had a teacher in graduate school who did this. He took away by having favorites. I saw what this did to all of us. It made us hyper-competitive. This teacher chose students for opportunities because he liked them. Now, 20 years out, I can look back at the people I went to school with and see who is using their degree and who is not. Its interesting because I am one of the few who is still using his degree, and I was never one of the golden children who would be approached with an opportunity to do a public commission. This experience taught me a lot about what NOT to do with my students, which is NEVER to set up a pecking order of favorites. It’s probably hard enough as it is to not create the appearance of favorites just in regular conversation in class with students.
I believe there is a better way. I know there is because the art world is competitive enough as it is without my adding the kind of thing my teacher did to the mix. Don’t get me wrong; I really admire my old teacher, I just didn’t agree that his way of operating in this regard was helpful in the short or long run for any of us.
So there you have it; two of my most intimate takes on how my educational philosophy was, and continues to be formed. Me, I had to find a way to express this simply and directly. And for me, my educational philosophy is a series of important notions that I bring to teaching in the arts. What I had to do was to put it together into a narrative or work that reads well and also expresses who I am. This is not an easy document to put together! But by starting, you have the document, and as I have told you before, it is a living document and it will naturally change over time. I can tell you that five years after graduating with my M.F.A. my teaching philosophy changed a lot (I had digested a lot of new experiences) and it also changed a lot when I did more teaching as an adjunct at Radford University.
While you may not have done much in the way of teaching, you do know what makes a good teacher. If you are committed to teaching the way you believe makes a good teacher, then by golly, THAT is a teaching philosophy! this is your guiding light, a statement of principles that you find important in your career in education. Oh, and you know, that philosophy can change from one year to the next. I know mine has. What has changed mine has been my own experience in education. Like instances when I saw a teacher being unfair to students, like me and others, and was able to see what the fall-out was from that. I bet you didn’t think your teachers might be teaching you how to teach based on a negative model, right?
I am loathe to mention this next part, but I am going to put it out there not because I feel I would personally do it, but because it is relevant for some people, which has to do with the type of school that you are going to teach at. Yes, context can matter. So I ask you, what is the context? Would there be a difference between teaching at a community college, an all-women’s school, a baptist-based small liberal-arts college? think about that one for a minute. Would your teaching be different for a school with a strong ethnic population? Fact is, these kinds of things are relevant. It might be that yes, you do teach differently in an environment where the first language is not English. How would you deal with this?
What I am saying here is that context could well change how you teach. How I teach beginners is different from how I would teach graduate students. I write about this in my education philosophy because I think it is important. I expect certain things from graduate students that I do not expect from undergraduates. I want the school that is considering hiring me know where I stand. To avoid any misunderstandings, but also to be clear about how I would run a program, for example, were I to be hired.
The bottom line here is that a good teaching philosophy will clue people into who you are as a teacher. So to begin, especially if you are having trouble getting started, I suggest that you make a list of all the characteristics that you can think of that you esteem, and even the ones you don’t, and begin from there. Think broadly and generally and let those general principles be your guiding lights. Oh, and one detail; keep the document within a page to two pages. Say what you need to say, so if it has to run longer, then the reason is a good one, right? There are a lot of suggestions about how to go about this important document, and there are some very good advice out there.
To learn more about this important document I am including some links to a variety of blogs and pages that discuss this in some greater depth that will help you even more in your quest for the perfect education/teaching philosophy.
Museums today are in a state of rapid change. They are changing due to our changing landscape in the digital domain. As a result, many museums are making their content available in an open and free way to those who view their web sites. Some museums have NO limit to how the images are used, while others have some restrictions, such as unlimited noncommercial use. To find out the specifics, you will need to read the fine print.
To assist you in this effort, I am including a list of links to a variety of museums world-wide who have open content. A sampling of them:
The market for insurance that caters to the arts community has been shaken up by the economic shocks that have taken place over the last seven years or so. Many old companies that were old stand-by’s are gone.
As an artist, you can always talk to a conventional insurance provider to get you the kind of insurance you might need for an open studio event, a show, or for ongoing insurance to provide you with the niche coverage you need to protect you from loss. Right?
It is nice to have someone who understands you. This is why I am happy to provide you with a great company that understands the needs of artists from different media. Many artists are already using this great company and the fees are affordable for event coverage. The name of the company is ACT Insurance, which stands for Artists Crafters & Tradesmen.
The company has two main choices the artists can choose from: event coverage and ongoing policy coverage. And as you might expect from a company like this, they understand that insurance for us often needs to be non-site specific, which is nice.
I suggest that your read through their list of exclusions before deciding on moving forward. If you do sculpture that is part of an installation process, for example, ACT wont cover you. The nice thing is that their web site is very easy to navigate and you can go through their information quickly. You can call them at 888.568.0548 and you can click to them here: Insurance For Artists
Here’s to a great new year!
Over the last few years I have been taking photographs of my glass and finding that the more I zoom into the work, the more interesting the landscapes are that I get. This is a process that believe it or not does not involve any post-production manipulation like filters or special effects. Everything that you see is as the camera saw it. The difference for me with many of my pictures is HOW I choose to shoot the work. Again, this is using direct sunlight, no special effects of any kind. The key has been how I shoot the work, the lenses I use, the light I have and the object that I am photographing. In my case, I have determined that some work photographs better than others in this way.
As we near a new year, I am reflecting a little on some of the pieces that came about this past year and I thought I would share some with you. These are just a few of them.
Some of my pictures look like surreal landscapes, maybe even from another world. This is due to the fact that I am giving people a view into glass that most people do not see. I am shooting glass objects at a high degree of magnification and under very high resolution. As a result, I might turn a half-inch square into a 72 inch square. Under these conditions, levels of detail emerge that the naked eye simply may never see. In other cases, I am not photographing quit this tightly. In this case, the glass will most often LOOK more like….glass.
I like both ends of this spectrum and I have shot thousands of photographs now using my own blown glass as a subject. You might wonder what I am trying to achieve. Its a good question. In the beginning, I had no idea where the work was going. I was photographing my work because a friend had sent me some photographs she took of some of my orbs up close. They were high resolution. I blew one up and kept blowing it up until I realized that the lens she used continued to give good resolution of the glass surface. This got me thinking and exploring. I still am not sure where this type of work is going, except that I like it and I am going to continue doing it. Something interesting happens when you allow yourself to not know where something is headed; it is suddenly free to go anywhere….even places you had never considered before.
As I get older, technique does not dazzle me as much as it used to. Its important, don’t get me wrong, its just that there is more to artistry than just technique. Sometimes our biggest problems lie in what we are unable to imagine….because we have limited ourselves creatively too much. I see this all the time in school where people want to play it safe and get a good grade. The real fun is out on a limb, never sure when you might plop down on the ground. Its there, on that limb, that the good fruit is nearly always plucked.
So often I find I am limited by my own biases of what I think I should be doing or that I am capable of doing that I literally squeeze out vast tracks of possibilities in my creative life. As artists, we have to do this in order to create work that is coherent and focused, but this is a sword with two sides. I use this work to keep me with something new and different running in the background. And really, does it need to be anything? After all, what are most of the “beautiful” materials in the world but a deep visceral reaction to things that are shiny, brilliant and brightly colored? When we say “eye candy” this is what we mean.
Often “eye candy” gets smeared with a sense of vacuity though, as though this feeds the eye but not the soul. I am not entirely sure that this is so. In fact, I think that our need for great color and brilliance is so total that we could probably look at these kinds of things and be fed at a deep level. In fact, this is just what we do when we look at a cut diamond, or a shiny metal surface. What I am saying is that we ought not feel bad for loving the simple pleasure of a brilliant color. After all, art emulates nature, and what we see in my glass is what we also see in nature, and it is that very nature that has informed our likes and dislikes.
I find that when I am creating this work, I am an explorer. I am seeking to see how far into the glass I can go to see what there is to see, to even go beyond the eye and its capacity to see the ordinary in order to pluck something from it that is extraordinary. These are interesting pieces in their own right, and as they continue to emerge in an ever-interesting array of new forms and landscapes, I remain engaged in seeing where it will take me. Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s hoping that 2016 is a great year!Thanks for all your support!
These images are of the ARTS306-03 Sculpture class building their first group project using naturally sources materials.
There is a video that will be posted that has a slide show of the pics shown here along with video shot during a test firing of the sculpture. The pics taken during this time are all in the 6-8 meg range. These pics have been greatly reduced in size. Let me know if you want a high resolution image of any of these. -Parker