Dana Shearin

 

                           

                                  Teaching Philosophy

 

 

“I am doing what we perhaps are all doing ….. searching, hunting ….. This search has a meaning and significance,  and the finding is in the process, not necessarily in the result of it……” Robert Turner,  Shaping Silence: A Life in Clay

 

For me, teaching is a process that undergoes continual revision. I aim to inspire, excite and motivate students; I hope to acquaint them with the desire that is necessary to create meaningful work. Some of the skills I emphasize are: craftsmanship, good work ethic, a knowledge of materials and processes. I encourage them in the development of their aesthetic opinions and reliable methods for generating ideas.  My hope is to pass an intense love of the process of working with clay on to the students or, at a minimum give them a greater understanding of art and its creation.

I have found that different approaches are necessary for different students. Some are easily discouraged or lack independence; others have innate skills but lack ambition to develop them. Some just need to learn to trust their instincts and become comfortable enough to express themselves.

I make myself available as a resource. I am always thinking about when to walk away and allow a student to make their own mistakes and when to step in to provide encouragement or direction.  I think hard about how to get them excited, how forcefully to push them, what assignments might motivate them, and how to enable them to asses their own work and the work of others. I find teaching to be a continually interesting and fulfilling endeavor; at the completion of a good course the students and I have learned from one another.

In my personal experience as a student and a teacher, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the company of people from a variety of: backgrounds I have friends, roommates, co-workers, relatives and students representing a variety of countries, races, religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. It is my hope to be part of an environment that fosters exploration and personal growth, where diversity, individuality and creativity are embraced. It is in such environments I feel most comfortable. I hope to encourage my students to embrace and value the diversities within themselves and their fellow students. Teaching and learning in a culturally diverse setting enhances the essential development of social skills and responsible citizenship