Creativity is a story I seek to tell with every communication program, every course, every lesson and every project I design.
In every student, I see a hidden wealth of untold narratives, waiting to unfold. My task is humble: I facilitate; I deliver knowledge and the tools; I guide the process and assess only some of the chapters. The real author remains to be the student, building their knowledge, course after course as they blaze trails for their academic and career journeys.
I aim to generate creatives who are able to:
- Identify, comprehend and value creativity as a whole lifestyle, a survival mechanism and as the ultimate solution.
- Envision the ‘bigger picture’ and comprehend the roles and duties of their creative disciplines within communities, the society and the entire world.
- Embrace the dynamic nature of creativity and commit lifelong learning.
As professor of graphic design and advertising, my main role is to deliver the knowledge needed in every stage of the creative process: research, analysis, ideation, conception, experimentation, execution, production and presentation;
However, with ever-changing disciplines such as ours, the challenge becomes how to help students learn to keep learning, as the rules of the game evolve and current knowledge quickly becomes dated.
Through teaching, I prepare the students to:
- Analyze problems and measure challenges, realistically and accurately.
- Evaluate the approaches, assess the variables and investigate the directions, adequately.
- Experiment deliberately and consistently to acquire and develop their skillsets.
- Create effective, innovative and ethical solutions, efficiently.
To achieve the above, I must first build a strong rapport with each student, based on mutual respect and a shared passion for problem solving and creativity. This rapport helps me push the student and help them identify their own passion and grit in order excel in their search for creativity.
I work on providing a safe, learning environment for my students, where ideas are exchanged freely, and where no threats are tolerated.
In my lessons, I work on offering explicit, varied forms of teaching methods, designed based on clearly set and shared objectives; I provide widely accessible course material, diversified across platforms and formats to reach all my students.
One prominent teaching method I employ is instigating active learning, where students are actively engaged in learning, specifically with realistic simulations, working with leading professionals in their disciplines. This offers an insight more impactful than any experienced within the classroom dynamic.
I also encourage and invite different forms of expression and communication for maximum engagement with different types of learners.
When it comes to assessment, rubrics and criteria for grading are also clearly explained within the syllabus and with every assignment brief. I offer feedback that is constructive, clear, justified, explicit and fair, at all stages of progress. At key points within the course, I invite external examiners or jurors, who also offer their feedback as well. That ‘real’ experience gives an extra motivation for the student to go beyond expectations and offers a clearer perspective on the solution.
To relate the material to my students further, I often give them power; For example, I engage my students in the design of certain components within their own assessment methods, this helps develop critical skills beyond the expected. This power also instills a sense of responsibility and commitment.
To evaluate my own teaching and the student learning process, I test often and I test early to monitor the student knowledge, the learning methods and the overall class performance. Accordingly, my lesson design remains flexible enough to be amended for optimal results.
Finally, my philosophy is to be a creative teacher; creative teachers must be continuous learners themselves.
I plan to continuously:
- Build my own knowledge in my discipline.
- Explore new teaching tactics and methods and improve my own.
- Relate to students and help identify and maintain their passion.
- Update and modify course content and delivery to meet learning objectives.
- Measure my own performance critically and work to improve my performance consistently, through both formative and summative stages.
In conclusion, I aim to facilitate knowledge that is accessible, current and structured for students to build upon in methods that are effective, and certainly creative.
Creativity remains the hero in every narrative my students learn to write, and,
in every story I get to tell.