On Teaching Fashion: Getting to Know Your Students

As September approaches, it means that a new term is at hand.  Whether your school is on a quarter or semester system,  you inevitably have to learn quite a few new names and personalities.  Memorizing names was never something that came easily to me.  When I first started teaching, I was terrified that I wouldn’t remember any of my students’ names.  Truthfully, it was a struggle the first time around.










As the term went on, it became easier to remember names because I had time to observed their personalities and work.  The next term, I decided to plan an activity that accelerate this process.  I adapted interview questions from the book Fashion Now by Susie Rushton and Terry Jones as an in-class assignment on the first day:

  • What is the most important lesson you have learned?
  • How have your experiences affected your work as a designer?
  • What are your design signatures? (Themes/elements that continually show up in your designs)
  • What is most important to you, the process or the product? Why?
  • How would you describe your work?
  • What inspires you?
  • Is designing difficult to you?  If so, what drives you to keep going?
  • Who do you have in mind when you design? 
  • Is the idea of creative collaboration important to you?

This activity is something I use in all of my classes.  Depending on the coure, I change the questions.  The format stays the same.  I ask questions that will expose what motivates and inspires my students.

At home, I can really take the time to read the responses.  Knowing more about what motivates and inspires my students helps me not only remember names, but also gives insight onto how I should lead the classroom.  This activity made a huge difference in my courses.

If you have other tricks for getting to know your students, I’d love to hear about them!  Please share your ideas in the comments section.


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