As the online learning platforms emerge, physical institutions that have better advantages to build an in-person community should emphasize cultivating conceptual skills, while maintaining a strong technical foundation. In plain words, it is to teach the students what they don’t know that they don’t know. When I teach typography, I try to de-emphasize the Latin-alphabet-centric approach and invite students to analyze the details in other writing systems such as Korean, Mongolian, Russian, Arabic. Through the discussion of the differences and similarities in different languages, students also open up about their cultures and habits. Multilingual Typography class is a very specific example of community-based learning that challenges the existing authority. By showing my vulnerability and limited knowledge of the students’ native languages, the students and I are learning from each other. Therefore, they gain ownership and pride in their own cultures. My objective is to open up a platform for more interdisciplinary courses that spark the interests of both students and educators for our growing global community.
Muyuan “Sherry” He is an Assistant Professor at the City College of New York, one of the oldest City University of New York institutions. She earned her MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her BA from Macalester College. While teaching graphic design, she conducts research in art-related pedagogical approaches across different languages and cultures.