Direct Encounter with the Arts (DEARTS), introduces students to art and culture by guiding them through first-hand experiences in a number of areas that include all of the ‘visual arts,’ theatre, music, dance, literature and more. Every semester of DEARTS is unique: it is centered on the best available exhibitions and performances on and off-campus. I am honored to teach DEARTS classes and serve as director of the program.
Talking about culture often leads to topics that may be controversial or otherwise challenging for students. Whether the subject matter is political, religious or sexual, there will be a wide spectrum of responses from the class. In a large class there will be many students who have had traumatic personal experiences that make some imagery and discussion stressful – even impossible. Students receive an assignment the first day that invites them to tell me about themselves. This and other techniques help sensitize me to the varied needs of individual students. There have been many occasions when students with a background of abuse or who are recently returned from combat have opened up unexpected terrain with their contributions to class. They’ve learned my classes are a safe place to express themselves. Their courage strengthens the class and opens minds for their peers.
Captioned photographs about my pedagogy and attributes as a teacher. View PDF: paulsolomonteaching_about
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