Teaching Philosophy

I believe students learn best in an environment that leads them to discover. Particularly in the arts, educators need to design an environment in which students are energized to explore new ideas, attempt new techniques and discover new strategies for expressing themselves; only then will their abilities to understand and create art will grow. I teach by providing students experiences, creative problems that are intended to guide them through the discovery process.

I believe teaching is going to undergo a major pedagogical shift in the next few years. Information delivery and receipt is changing rapidly. Educators must be prepared to facilitate learning, help students realize their potential through innovative, interdisciplinary educational activities. Academic offerings which are interdisciplinary and collaborative, model a structure that accurately reflects how people learn and work in their occupations and personal lives.

Students need to read, think and talk about art. They need to look at art and study the history of art. All of these things need to happen in both historical and contemporary contexts. Why were the images of the masters (and the less masterful) important then? Why are the images of the moderns important now? Out of this study, students will gain insights about the nature of art, about the creative process and about themselves as artists.

Above all else, students need to create. Reading, thinking and talking about art is not enough. Students must be in the studio drawing, sculpting, working on the wheel, at the loom and so on. If there is a melding of thought and action both will be stronger and more solidified.

David McBeth, MFA
Associate Professor of Art