Monday, March 28, 2011
“[Giorgio Morandi, Glaser’s teacher] made me aware of the fact teaching involved the expression of the teacher’s world view of life; or put another way, what the teacher was as well as what was said, informs the class
Most people believe the idea of teaching is essentially transferring a body of knowledge to a student. This is of course, part of teaching but creating an attitude toward those facts is even more significant.
I try to create an atmosphere of inquiry where the class is a safe place to fail. The secret of most successful classes is the presence of a handful of gifted students who respond well to the problems and provide a standard for the rest of the students. Without this core, teaching can be very difficult indeed.
I believe the best learning occurs when students become aware that they are responsible for their own education and that their teacher is not the source of all knowledge, but rather an instrument to awaken the students’ dormant imaginations.
The creation of what could be called a community of inquiry where, to some extent, everyone teaches and learns simultaneously is not easy to achieve but is highly desirable. It takes a long time to recover from bad teaching and to convince the students that the purpose of the assignment is not to display cleverness, but to learn something they did not already know.
I used to teach skills and technique, presuming that after students developed skills, they could apply them to a variety of problems. Now, I teach more from the point of view of identifying one’s intention and assuming the skill and technique will follow.
What remains constant is the small number of extraordinary students who are both innately gifted and willing to devote their complete attention to becoming serious practitioners. I use the word serious in the Italian sense, someone who must be paid attention to because he or she has the passion, talent, and persistence to change things.
That would be Milton Glaser, the god.