Roy Yang
May 4, 2022
I value teaching and learning as always, a part of life for everyone in the world. We live on a planet where we tie ourselves to inquiry about knowledge, skills, and ethos; to experience with others, the communities, and the environment. People intersect unconsciously and spontaneously by inner impulse. And I believe the way we crossed is the way of teaching and learning. I started to experience this concept when I was a child, when I taught my parents and grandparents dancing I learned from school, when I leisurely introduce my methodology of narrative writing with my cousins, when I was self-motivated to learn to use PowerPoint making animations to untangle a math problem in a visual way and presented to my peers, when I encouraged my friend, showing my gratitude for learning a lot from him, telling him that he is awesome and should ignore the meaningless disparagement, etc. I approach teaching as a practice of sharing from inside of my heart and building that connection with my enthusiasm, empathy, and care.
To prepare for my teaching, I deconstruct the resources and rebuild them in a gradual manner from different perspectives. I would encourage students, as well as myself, to explore their own ways of learning. As a former vice-president of the design and art department in the school student union during my engineering undergraduate years, I held a series of workshops on design concepts using PowerPoint which is handy to everyone. I noticed the passion of the engineering students in my school for presenting their research in a more vivid way. Hence, I inspired them to prepare their own presenting materials and organized them together in a clearer hierarchy that is integrated with the design concept later. I also encouraged them to gain inspiration from their daily life and try to realize that in PowerPoint creatively. Participants ended up building their own designed “slides”, from an IKEA-styled booklet for the lab report, to a team robot project presentation like a sci-fi game, to fast typography animation making a self-introduction for a defense. I kept practicing this methodology in my next workshop. Working with teachers and students in the class Code, Decolonized, and hosting a symposium with POWRPLNT, I held a public workshop about the nested loop and permutation design. I acknowledged that the participants could have a wide variety of backgrounds, some of whom may not have had any coding experience before. Therefore, I tried to detach the code from math, and taught it in a more accessible way, including guiding participants to learn from surface representation to rich representation by explaining concepts in relatable ways, providing supportive resources, and creating tools for intuitive and visual representation. In this case, I have made an online tool visualizing the Nested For Loop to play with. After making sure everyone can keep up, I introduced the permutation design and let students generate their own logo variations.
I am still learning about pedagogy.
One thing I learned and am willing to practice is to construct knowledge through a critical and decolonized lens. Working as a Tutor of Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design, I have the fortune to experience and work with people from diverse backgrounds on various ideas and projects. Apart from technical support, I often discuss and seek to be cognizant of the intentions and the different perspectives of their projects, whether it’s about a stimulating experience, an elusive feeling, indigenous culture, disadvantaged groups, social issues, etc. I stand by the idea that technology should not be independent of the content and context. Therefore, to comprehend them before running into technical analysis is not only my sense of respect but also a responsibility of learning and helping each other. And I will stay consistent with this idea and pay attention to embracing, transdisciplinary, and critical thinking in my approach to teaching. 
Another thing I experienced and would love to carry out is to create and lead an inclusive, equitable, and safe environment in the class. I value everyone’s expression and would try to engage every student and guide the class to lead itself in democratic and community-centric ways, to let everyone feel safe to share ideas, learn from each other, and feel a responsibility to contribute, and thus allow everyone to unleash their creativity. To do that, I would encourage students to form a community agreement to reduce the unfamiliarity and nervousness in the ‘classroom’. I would also include collaborations as platforms and opportunities to exchange questions, findings, and ideas with each other and create together.
I aspire to break the hierarchical relationship between teachers and students by implementing my teaching philosophy. I’m inspired to communicate, think, and learn with my students and stimulate a spark of creativity.
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