Matthew Lewis Johnson
In one class all classes are present; from each lesson, many lessons can be drawn. This is my teaching philosophy, it stems from my professional experience and from my personal journey. Professionally I am an artist of the theatre; an actor, a playwright, a director, a designer, and a puppeteer. It is my experience that the fundamental precepts of each of these disciplines are essentially linked. It is my job to identify the root of the discipline at hand, illuminate them individually and to cultivate their collective development.
A class needs space to explore and implement the lesson while contextualizing its myriad of byways. To allow this space a teacher must be prepared for the classroom and present with the class. Preparation facilitates presence, like an actor who has their lines and blocking down so that they can simply be on stage, I work to structure the course so that I can simply be with the class; to be open to the deeper lessons as they reveal themselves, directing the synthesis of the designed lessons through the action of classroom.
A large part of what I teach is presence and connection and I see this as the fundamental role of the instructor. To be present with the classroom while facilitating the connection with the lesson. It is the responsibility of the instructor to do this mindfully in a well prepared fashion, to challenge with clarity and establish a safe environment with firm boundaries. I use written assignments and online posts to get the students engaging with each other and with the material. Through physical exercises the students get out of their heads and their comfort zone and in the room, in the moment.
The instructor should be flexible and open to the evolution of their style with an eye toward rounding out the faculty. Professional development and technological savvy should be considered part of preparation.
The manifestation of my teaching philosophy is fostering the development of self-actualized citizen-artists. People who are creative problem solvers focused on collaborating within a diverse community, working for the benefit of society.