Writing is not just something you do to communicate. It’s a tool for finding inspiration. Raquel Casias , Faculty , The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I knew I was meant to be a teacher and a creative professional in the Fall of 2015 when I taught my first class at The Art Institutes. It was then that I realized that I could learn from the students just as much as they learned from me. I remember presenting my course content and students from the Graphic & Web Design program offering to help me create better multimedia presentations. On another occasion, that same fall class, I gave my students an assignment where they were to present three items that fit in a paper bag and represented values that they had. Several of the students surprised me with their ingenuity and their innovation by making the paper bag a work of art. In the classes that followed, I have continued to be amazed and delighted with the insight, ingenuity, and creativity that Ai students bring. I always thought that I was the teacher, but it didn't occur to me until I taught my first class at Ai California—Sacramento that I could learn from my students here.
How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?
I encourage and facilitate Socratic discussions that push students to share their views while being exposed to the multifaceted views of others. I also present writing as a meaningful tool that students can use to generate ideas and solve problems. I want my students to see that each writing or speaking assignment I give relates to real-world situations, whether it's in their personal lives or something they will use when working in their industry.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
One of my favorite projects to assign is personal narratives. I have my students draft their story multiple times. At first, they see their drafts as an ends to a mean. But, after several revisions, I’ve seen so many take pride and ownership in crafting their stories.
Recently, I have also started having students create an online Portfolio through Google Sites. Over time, I hear students marvel about how much they have written and enjoy seeing how proud that makes them.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
I encourage any student to continue using the higher order thinking skills he or she acquired in College English and at Ai California—Sacramento in the real and creative world. Writing is not just something you do to communicate. It’s a tool for finding inspiration. Whether a student is a graphic designer, culinary artist, animator, interior designer, photographer, or video game designer, he/she will need those critical thinking skills and artful communication methods throughout his or her life.