Philosophy

 

My teaching philosophy is grounded in my thesis research about play elements and creative education. Play is naturally engaging and involves the elements: anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength, and poise. These are factors I have in mind when teaching.

I strive to provide to students an experiential learning, through exploration, analysis, evaluation, and creation. Most of my courses are project-based, so there is a clear relevance and impact of students’ work. 

My experience with Product Design, Graphic Design, Design Methodologies,  and professional work for startups, make me an advocate for educating designers with strong critical thinking, visualization and communication skills. I value collaboration and cross-disciplinary activities. My students usually work in direct contact with project stakeholders starting in their sophomore year. We have worked with Margaret's House, with the Strong Museum of Play, various chosen existing brands, with the Sustainability Institute and with AcessAbility at RIT. I have coached teams in the IdeaLab and Studio 930, which are multidisciplinary initiatives from RIT.

I teach with active learning methodologies, where students are protagonists of their learning experience. There are discussions, mutual construction of concepts, research, interviews, and understanding of multiple viewpoints to elaborate upon a rationale. My role as an educator is to challenge them with new concepts and perspectives, so they develop their best student, designer, and self.  

Student involvement happens throughout the entire process. I make the class environment comfortable for students to share their thoughts. I deliver content in a variety of activities, so there is always a mix of approaches. Lectures are broken into small chunks of content, so students can practice and interact along with it.

I’m a strong advocate for personalized learning. I understand its challenges in a classroom, but I usually adapt my teaching to accommodate different personalities. Recently I took  the course MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) Learning Styles to understand how each type of personality better learn and express. To address singularities within a group,  I use a variety of media (slideshow, collaborative boards, videos, TedTalks, toolkits, craft materials, etc) to deliver the course content, and I vary the way students present their achievements (digital presentation, handmade renderings, individual or group presentation, in-class or open critiques).

My teaching strategies are innovative and flexible. I use a student-centered approach to conduct my classes.  During this past year when we had to shift to online modalities, I pivoted to address the group needs, with synchronous and asynchronous content, one-on-ones and class remote meetings, so my students could continue their academic development. 

Recurring assessment of my own teaching is also of primary importance in my philosophy. Besides reflecting on and acting upon the mandatory student evaluations provided at the end of the academic term, I also find it crucial to collect feedback from both my students and fellow professors during the semester for each project, in each of my classes. By doing so, I'm able to diagnose, adjust and refine my class plans in time to ensure student engagement and effective learning.