I teach classes that at first glance look like art classes…but they’re not. I teach creative/critical thinking classes disguised as art classes. When I design and teach a class, I don’t teach art, I teach resilience. I teach grit. I give students the ability to thrive in a future world we can’t even imagine right now.

How? By giving students enough information to get started and then get out of their way. I support them as they explore new possibilities and, if necessary, give them not “the right answer,” but “an answer” and then encourage them to find their own answers. I use two techniques to achieve this goal.

First, I teach the EETS mindset: Explore (materials, tools, techniques), Experiment (try new things, drawing on both individual and collective knowledge), Troubleshoot (figure out why something isn’t working and possible solutions) and Share (through documentation and teaching others).

I also use a technique called strewing: I leave extra materials, projects and educational items, not related to what we’re doing, scattered throughout the classroom.

By doing this I give students more than just an art class. I give them real skills that they can use throughout their lives.