by B. Adam Burke
My experience in teaching, writing, organizing, artist estate and nonprofit management, fundraising, curating, performing, and public speaking are a unique assortment of skills.
Much of my work as an educator is emergent, experimental, and open-ended but I begin by taking students where they are. We make assessments to help expand or refine their process, deepen our knowledge of their work and provide reference material, or ask them to critically examine themselves and their work by doing different forms of self-assessment. This assessment is updated throughout the term.
I also employ differentiation as a teaching mechanism to support multiple learner perspectives, find alternative student views, offer further research and references, and new paths to untried perceptual ways of thinking and practice.
Another classroom method I use is serial testimony to welcome the sharing of process and ideas about media and objects. Serial testimony is an informal, timed, circle discussion with measured periods for each student that can be used as time to speak, perform, share from research or sketchbooks, or pass, sit quietly and say nothing. It is used as a check-in period or end-of-class discussion time.
Mentorship can be a effective method to use outside of class for developing relationships with students. These initially take the form of conversations or idea sharing, or setting up formal meeting times to listen, advise, and work through technical aspects of media design.
To variegate classes and break up work time, some of my lectures are prepared and some are emergent talks, group conversations, and demonstrations that use examples inspired by the day’s lesson. Classes can take the form of a studio or a seminar as we examine contemporary trends and issues which can impact their work.
In addition, it is important to develop skills in new technology that go beyond the latest software mastery. Staying up to date is an expensive endeavor and some technology is even outdated by the time students graduate. My classes establish foundations in media production, examine trends to assess strategies for future employment, and develop paths for self-training and innovative acquisition of new skills.
I have created innovation sessions where students are encouraged to share thoughts from their artist journals or sketchbooks, collaborate on projects, and identify new problems or issues their work can address.
Community and service learning projects engage students through social acts and add practical experience and networking opportunities. My classes have created image commons and archives of shared images from the semester’s lectures and student research. They helped design posters for events and to build their portfolios.
Finally, my teaching form ultimately strives to use a critical pedagogy to develop students as teachers. This can take the form of classroom discussion, demonstrations, or other research as assigned.
For me, this means becoming as a student. Fortunately, that’s not difficult. I enjoy staying curious about many aspects of the world outside of media art including history, science, philosophy, and cultural and political issues.