Though teachers at George School pride ourselves in being masters of our subjects, we all also recognize there are limits to teaching students our disciplines through only our perspectives and skillsets. This is one of the many reasons why Ceramics and Sculpture teacher Amedeo Salamoni brings guest lecturers regularly to his classes.
Amedeo brings at least four to six speakers in every year to expose students to a broad spectrum of voices in his field. For example, though he can offer students expertise in clay, he might bring a glassblower into his sculpture class to explore other mediums students may be interested in learning.
Last winter, Amedeo invited sculptor Peter Jakubowski of Clay Arts Vegas to his Ceramics classes. Peter taught students how to build a vessel with coiling—something Amedeo had also taught them, but Peter used an entirely different method, one Amedeo would never have chosen. This enrichens the learning for students, showing them that there is never only one way to learn something or only one way to succeed. In this way, guest speakers offer both opportunities for skills to be reinforced as well as a chance to understand the full scope of possibilities and approaches for each learning unit.
As a working artist himself, Amedeo has a wide network of local contacts he has drawn upon to be guest speakers in years past, but in this last year, he had to rely on “virtual visits” with speakers over Zoom. This in no way has lessened the experience, as it still gives students an opportunity to speak with professionals and to hear others’ voices and perspectives in the field. And the best news? Now that both teachers and students alike have developed a familiarity with classes and experiences occurring over Zoom, Amedeo can draw on his national and international network of professionals to continuing bringing students diverse perspectives and skills to enrich their classroom experience.
In addition to her other roles on campus, Meredith sponsors the Girls Learn International club. She has a BA from Connecticut College and an MA from New York University. When she isn’t taking care of her children, she loves cooking and travel.