Fereshteh Toosi  | Teaching Philosophy
Teaching Philosophy

I emphasize an interdisciplinary approach that assumes no boundaries between research, theory, and practice. The student should leave each class session or meeting with renewed motivation and a sense of obligation to actively interrogate the formal and conceptual aspects of his or her creative work.

A curriculum that combines hands-on learning and contextual analysis allows students to develop transferable conceptual skills that will stay with them long after the technology becomes obsolete. Both technical proficiency and methods for idea generation are built upon a scaffold of projects that progress with increasing complexity. A quick succession of projects allows the information to be more easily absorbed and engages students with varying levels of experience. Class time is spent between learning new skills and critical inquiries into an artist's role as cultural producer. Introducing contemporary and historical examples of art and media through screenings, readings, and artist lectures offers inspiration and diverse models of success.

In my courses, students pursue projects both individually and in collaborative teams. Group interaction enables students to learn from one another and presents alternatives to a traditional studio practice. Collaborative projects also reflect the kinds of experiences students will encounter after college in professional situations. Strategies for both collaborative and individual work are outlined and reinforced with early feedback and followed up with peer- and self-assessments.

A learner-centered pedagogy requires active participation through in-class discussions, student-led presentations, and a willingness on my part to adapt a course to reflect current events and student needs. Courses should be laboratories that allow for discovery through experimentation and failure. This nurtures students' independence as they advance and define their creative and scholarly interests. I feel I have succeeded when students push themselves beyond the requirements of the class to take risks, to engage in interdisciplinary approaches, and to explore the creation of hybrid art forms.