My Teaching Philosophy


Chris S. Johnson

Today educators are mediators for a constantly changing dialogue between technology and society. As an educator of Visual Communication I am committed to sharing my knowledge of art, design, technology and learning with my students.

Due to the dynamic state of the medium I believe it is necessary to explain the process, give the students technical skills and help them develop a strong conceptual stance for what they are trying to communicate. I would characterize my teaching style as enthusiastic and open. My main philosophy is to teach the students to, “learn how to learn”. Each student is unique and should be approached differently. From my first formal teaching experiences at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to currently teach three Visual Communication classes at Northern Arizona University I encourage students to learn by actively working through a wide variety of visual problems. For example, a student is given a detailed one-page description of a project. They are required to research and sketch their initial ideas and then refine those ideas before finally creating the final product. They are introduced to a software application through demonstrations and exercises, and then guided through their own exploration of the application and its capabilities. The student then presents and discusses their project in a classroom critique. This process strengthens the student’s development towards being articulate communicators. As an educator I am committed to giving students a deeper understanding of Visual Communication through a variety of approaches and experiences.

On a practical level, I believe that advising students and mentoring them is an important aspect of teaching. I look for chances to receive feedback from students through surveys, questionnaires, discussions and office hours. In addition, by keeping an active exhibition record I visibly show that I am excited and actively pursuing the process of exploration and creation.

I believe that students that are given a diverse and balanced approach to visual communication, a dense knowledge of art and design become professional, highly articulate and employable designers.