Teaching is fundamentally important to everything I do as a designer. Teaching fuels my research, and I feel a sense of debt to, and friendship with, my students because of this. In my teaching I aim to foster a conversation with students that engages them as co-explorers of the world, introducing them to the value of design skills, and then teaching them to hone those skills like a writer hones their craft—communicators actively participating in responsibly creating the world around them. I believe in engaging a student’s voice in their practice of design, as a means of harnessing their curiosity and interests as a teaching tool. For this reason, I take a lot of time individually getting to know my students, and setting up conversations and opportunities for connection within the culture of the classroom. I strongly believe students should have an opinion on the work they do, and I believe it is the duty of a design teacher to map out the terrain and show the students where they might make a difference with their voices and skills most effectively. I believe that teaching is a form of synthesis, and that when I learn something in my research, my students can both learn from it, and teach me about my own limited thinking. In my own life, design has been a compass with which to navigate different cultures, languages and ways of living and interacting with society.
I aim to create a classroom context which supports experiment and risk-taking, self-reflection and collegiality. I believe strongly in providing opportunities for students to interact with the world outside of academia and to see design as an attitude rather than a set of outcomes for their portfolio. Each of the classes, workshops or mentoring contexts I have worked in has taught me something about myself, student needs and expectations, and helped me to more succinctly and inclusively break down concepts and content for different audiences, skills levels and personalities.
Being a good teacher means being a good student.