My teaching philosophy a few years ago. I still stand by most of it.
If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning. — Carl Rogers
“The conditions of a true critique and a true creation are the same: the destruction of an image of thought which presupposes itself and the genesis of the act of thinking in thought itself.” - Gilles Deleuze ( Difference & Repetition)
I often find it very difficult to think my own thoughts. It is a struggle which I think is worth having. It is a struggle against standardization ... a struggle against always letting someone else think for you. I’m often disappointed when I find my students thinking like each other. I wonder if they are really thinking. In the same way, I always wonder whether I am thinking or simply going through the motions of living.
Sometimes I’m disappointed if I find a student thinking like me. It worries me. Of course I want to share ideas, but I’m hoping those ideas prompt something different in each person. I struggle when asked to measure those outcomes. I’m pleased when my students make something that surprises me, even on the occasions when it lacks a bit in craft. The first steps of thinking or making something new are often very awkward. I’m even more pleased when students make something that surprises them. Over the last few years that seems to happen more and more.
Education is not simply a system for information transfer. Information transfer can (and should) happen just as well in online environments, or in daily life experience, as in a classroom. What students are paying for when they go to college is the opportunity to share their bodily presence, their thoughts, dreams, and perspectives with their contemporaries and mentors. That happens as often before, after, and between classes.
With this in mind, I try to catalyze and coordinate a community of researchers and
experimenters. I encourage my students to see themselves as artists and scholars, and discipline themselves accordingly. It is important for them to come out of their schooling as better artists and thinkers, not just better students, or potential employees. My task as an educator is to troubleshoot, facilitate and administer this network of students /teachers. Ideally I can think WITH my students, even beginning students, instead of thinking FOR them. Together we keep the creative juices flowing.
Acknowledging that I’m not an expert always really helped me as well. I don’t have answers for many student questions, especially technical questions. Conceptual questions can be confusing too. Sometimes it’s good to say something like, “I don’t know, I’m sorry. Let’s look at it together.”…I teach because I want to be a student.
-Taeyoon Choi (creative independent interview)