Teaching Philosophy: To Inspire Passionate Creativity

At the core of my teaching is the mission to inspire passionate creativity.  This is embodied in the following goals:

  • Promote creative problem-solving through artistic production
  • Foster metacognition of students to improve the quality of their educational experience
  • Facilitate a synergy of process, material, and concept resulting in completed artworks
  • Imbue a desire for continual development as artists
  • Cultivate the ability to contribute to a contemporary cultural dialog
  • Launch further independent artistic research

These goals are accomplished through very specific means.  Initial empowerment of the students occurs through my expectation that they communicate their own best learning methods.  Specific examples include regular consultation with students on current curricular decisions that would affect current or future semesters and the requirement of more experienced students to design the specifics of their own curriculum.

To compliment the responsibilities of the students, I serve as an example in and out of the classroom.  Every interaction is a teaching opportunity and my positivity and enthusiasm is contagious. Transparency and accessibility, achieved through the sharing of relevant professional practice, are also highly effective tools.

The primary environment of these interactions is the classroom studio.  In a very practical way, the classroom itself is a teacher.  I maximize this opportunity by promoting relentless observation, consideration, and application.  The workspace is an aesthetic and functional inspiration.

Clarity of intention is developed through a fluency in visual and somatic experiences.  These cumulative experiences result in the ability to articulately communicate through completed artworks, documentation of those artworks, oral communal critique, and reflective writing.

I am motivated by my passion in life as an object-maker and the use of that passion as the foundation for the positive influence on others.  I have a deep resonance with levels of communication that transcend the verbal.  Teaching is communal but learning is essentially an individual and private act.  I have always been most inspired by the teachers in my life and I strive to continue the cycle of growth and evolution through my own contributions.

© James Thurman

Contact: james.thurman@unt.edu

Graphics by Triple Threat Press