Rebekah Just
Teaching Philosophy





My goal is to give students the tools to surpass the technical obstacles they face and to bring their ideas to artistic expression. I provide students with fundamentals and concepts to prepare them not only for subsequent classes, but also for their careers ahead of them. I strive to enable students to push through any intimidation and be able to feed their curiosity by discovering new information from a strong foundation of vocabulary, history, and savvy. I also present the evolution of the medium, as well as the contemporary use of a topic to build an understanding and validity.

Because of the continuous success rate, I exercise the same basic approach for all classes to achieve learning objectives, but the methods are tailored for each curriculum and coarse level to keep the learning experience fresh. For introductory classes where terms and processes are very unfamiliar, I create learning assessments that follow assigned readings, lectures, and demonstrations. The assessment questions review terms, processes, and artists from the previous session or homework assignment, and are designed to be used as a reference guide for the artistic and technical language we are speaking in the classroom. I develop assignments, for all class levels, designed to maximize conceptual and technical skills that will encompass the learning objectives set in the curriculum, as well as keep students motivated about the subject by incorporating and expanding on information obtained through discussion about individuals’ interests. When I present the assignments, I show an appropriate, vital variety of classic to contemporary examples as a reference point to spark their conceptual development for the piece. After independent research and deliberation, we collaboratively discuss how to approach the piece technically to optimize their visual expression. Comprehensive interactivity in class critiques is a crucial element I use to achieve learning objectives, because the experience nurtures critical thought and exercises vocabulary they are absorbing in the class and program. Students learn to constructively view works, and discuss both successful aspects as well as elements that could make the piece stronger, incorporating critical thought, self-reflection, and articulation.

When a student demonstrates a fire for the medium, and is able to express and question their intent, I feel the benefits of our hard work. All of my time and effort is brought to fruition the first moment a student “sees” a correct exposure in the darkroom or when I hear students having a conversation using the language they learned in my class. The rewards of witnessing students spend their free time in the darkroom or computer lab to explore beyond the assignments is beyond describable. I strive to create a supportive environment that cultivates creation and provides a true and thorough understanding of photography and digital arts.