I believe that teaching design is accomplished by integrating theories of communication design with real world assignments. In that way, students can draw relevant lessons from each. By teaching a foundation of communication design theories and concepts, I focus on creating practical and engaging design assignments that are applied to projects derived from the world we share, and sometimes turning the assignments into friendly competitions. I believe that there needs to be complete balance between lecture and critique. Class lecture is important because it introduces the students to the theories, concepts and process of design by promoting the importance of both context and audience. Critique is equally important as it provides students an opportunity to explain their creative process, as well as defend their design ideas and concepts. The process of teaching design is based on exposing students to as much design as possible. Also in this day and age, the integration of technology is important and integrating other disciplines like literature, geography, philosophy and medicine. This allows for dialogue regarding common day occurrences as it relates to design. Engaging students in the history of design is important as well.
I create a teaching environment where my students will do their best by encouraging them to share ideas and thoughts. While helping each other fortify their strength while working on a new aesthetic idea or allowing themselves to risk failure. I view them all as art directors and I am the creative director. Classroom time is divided by lectures, critiques and studio time, where students are engaged and involved. It is important to design lesson plans where the goal is not only to instruct but to engage them in the learning--active learning. The combination of theory and practice is primordial. I am big believer in classroom critique, where each student must comment, critic or create a dialogue regarding the work of his/her classmates. I ask my students to defend their work and explain why they made the design and/or technological decisions they made. I also spend time conducting individual discussion time with each student so I can stay abreast of the progress of their assignments and projects. This allows me to connect with my students on a personal and educational level.
I strongly believe that teaching at its basic core is a partnership, the educator and the student, the student and the educator, a relationship is born. And sometimes the role reverse as there is much to learn from our students. By knowing that I can make a real difference in the lives of my students contributes to my commitment as an educator. I understand that not all students will become artists or designers so encouraging all students to connect design with their other courses, interests, hobbies outside of school and real life experiences is critical. I would expect that years after taking my class, the accountant, nurse and other non designer/artist professional remember design thinking principles he/she once learned in my class and apply it to problems they have to solve in their life. Finally, I would want my students to remember the beauty of interdisciplinarity and the fact that design can be connected to everything else in the world in many different ways.