Marc Beaulieu photo, 2017
PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH AND TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
When working with adult learners, four overarching goals guide my approach:
to motivate students to take ownership of their learning process;
to foster a peer-learning approach that allows students to best integrate their learning experiences, and see each other and themselves as valuable learning resources;
to model an atmosphere of respect and inclusiveness, allowing space for all students to contribute to the collective learning experience, and;
to provide students with a well-articulated and relevant set of challenges that will inspire them to meet learning goals and seek further challenges with confidence.
These fundamental goals have been developed over seventeen years of experience as an instructor, faculty member, student advisor and curriculum designer in a number of arts-based, post-secondary contexts, as well as through formal academic certification in Adult Education. I understand that instructing learning material is just one part of the educational experience; equally important is demonstrating engagement with educational material in ways that make it relevant and meaningful. Teaching is core to my identity–a professional practice that I am deeply invested in–and I strive to continue to learn throughout my teaching experiences. Fostering scholarship is integral to my practice as an artist, prompting and vitalizing my own research impetus.
PAST TEACHING EXPERIENCE
My teaching record has been gained through extensive experiential learning and multiple modes of professional development. Following an atypical trajectory has allowed me to concurrently build a significant teaching dossier alongside a lively professional art practice, while also completing academic qualifications and spearheading community-based initiatives. I have often held teaching positions simultaneously at various institutions, working across numerous disciplines, and developing a variety of curricula using diverse methodologies, including: art, design, craft, communications, technology, science, art history, architecture, arts administration and more.
It is important to me that topics and media are examined with equal attention to methods of technical execution, as well as to the conceptual implications and relevant critical questions. Inter- and trans-disciplinary research-creation is something I promote and value as a vital mode of new knowledge production.
Additionally important to me as an educator is the understanding that student wellness and learning are related interests. Keeping circumstantial learning obstacles in mind provides additional insight and allows for making small adjustments in order to ensure that all students are able to gain the most from their learning experiences. I make it a priority to be knowledgeable about other resources available to students outside of the classroom, in order to highlight support for learning and prioritize well-being.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY
My own trajectory through academia and simultaneous career development as both educator and artist was, for many years, influenced predominantly by my responsibilities as a young, single mother. These personal circumstances were powerful in fostering my deep appreciation for diverse learning and teaching experiences such as community-based initiatives, as well nurturing a passion for working with disadvantaged groups.
I have professionally served a wide variety of diverse marginal communities and cultural minority groups over the past twenty plus years, as an artist, educator, writer, arts administrator and volunteer. My firm belief, based on these experiences, is that practice-led education in the arts, which contributes towards the development of conscious self-expression, collaborative skills and awareness of sociocultural matters, is one of the most empowering and enriching tools I can share.
My approach to working with individuals and groups is decidedly nonhierarchical, and one of my main goals is to promote equal access and a feeling of ownership at all possible levels. That may mean access to better classroom conditions; access to economic, legal or health support resources; universal access to facilities for those differently abled; or access to culturally-relevant community leadership, to give a few examples — all of which support better learning.
Finally, but also very importantly, I have worked dedicatedly for the past two decades within my queer communities, as an advocate and volunteer, to promote a proud, safe and welcome presence everywhere, for the full spectrum of genders and sexualities.
NBCCD photo, 2010