“Your students can learn the arts as well as learn through the arts,” stated Andrew Miller, the director of teaching and learning at Singapore American School. Learning through the arts does not come only from knowledge about art history and contemporary practices, but also from the process of creating work oneself. For me, practice through project-based assignments is essential as students are developing their artistic practice.
My goal as an arts educator is to help students seek and pursue their own self-expression in the arts, to convert their creative ideas into artistic projects, to think about the role of art in their lives, and to build up their portfolios to prepare for their future artistic career. My methodology focuses on a combination of practice and theory. I encourage my students to develop personalized or collaborative art projects that express the issues or the topics they are concerned with and then I guide them to explore their identities and motivations in art. I aim to motivate students to learn and experiment with different media, methods, and appreciating arts in a global context.
The experience of being a teaching assistant for undergraduates at Duke University has been instrumental for my future career as an arts educator. While I was pursuing my MFA degree in Experimental and Documentary Arts, I worked as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate-level course, “Moving Images Practice,” in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies in Spring 2020. In this class, I helped students with the practical aspects of film creation, such as the use of cameras and with editing software. During class time instruction, I advised groups or individuals with technical and editorial feedback. During critique sessions, I offered my feedback and comments about their works.
In Fall 2021, I worked as a teaching assistant for the Social Practice Lab in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) at Duke University. I mentored the Duke Artist Collective project, which is a growing community of undergraduate student-creatives on campus. Apart from weekly check-ins with two undergraduate group leaders, I facilitated a website workshop to help students build their own artistic portfolios, offered weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions, and joined in group critique sessions.
In summer 2020, I was a graduate mentor in the Critical Decisions: Perceptions of AI in Healthcare Management project as part of the Story+ program in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, supervising five Duke undergraduates from different majors. My responsibilities went beyond merely coordinating and arranging online interviews; I advised the students on their video editing and coached them with their fieldwork interviews. As a mentor, I supervised the overall project so all the interviews, the resulting short film, as well as the interactive storytelling website prototype design was completed within six weeks. Even though the pandemic made our already tight schedule even more hectic, we successfully pulled it off with great team synergy and delivered an interactive storytelling experience to describe AI’s role in the healthcare industry.
My passion for teaching also led me to complete Duke University's Graduate School College Teaching Certificate (CCT) program. Through the training and courses from this program, I studied teaching techniques, course design, and the proper use of teaching technology. Through CCT, I had the opportunity to participate in a teaching triangle practicum. In this process, I engaged in a teaching peer review exercise with my cohort, receiving and giving reflections with my peers. The practice and learning of learning through CCT has led me to the path of professional teaching and allowed me to accumulate additional teaching experience, laying a solid foundation for my future teaching career.