Author Archives: zjchin

Timelessness in Time

Time is especially tricky when you only have a year to experience your masters program. 9 months, to be exact. There is so much to learn, so much you wish to do, and you inevitably have to make choices and negotiate trade-offs, and accept what you might lose out on. At this 9th month mark, I find myself looking back with much nostalgia – not on the moments that I’ve had to miss out on, but on the wonderful milestones that were birthed along the way. These were moments that I could have never imagined or planned for prior to coming to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). They evolved and came to life most unexpectedly, thanks to incredible people that have inspired, supported and worked with me during my journey here. Some of these unanticipated, joyful milestones include:

1. Creating tangible real-life products/movements with colleagues, which embody our shared passions and visions in education

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The Palette, an all original podcast focusing on arts and learning, hosting a live podcast recording on accessibility in the arts at HGSE

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Harvard STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), a student organization that facilitates and explores trans-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration, presenting their projects at HGSE EdTalks

2. Making connections with my community. Beyond the classrooms, beyond the readings, beyond theory, beyond philosophizing.

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Gathering to listen to Project Zero Artists in Residence present their works

 

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Having a 1960’s music singalong with fellow HGSE student Ruhith Ariyapala and the Tremble Clefs, a choral group designed to strengthen the voices of people with Parkinson’s

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HGSE students from Singapore performing a medley of Singaporean National Day songs at Cabaret Night, an open mic night as part of Monday Night Remix

3. Getting married in the middle of the final semester (I highly recommend Cambridge City Hall if any of you are considering this!)

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Getting married at Cambridge City Hall after morning class made it a school day to remember

 

Time feels exceptionally precious here, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed, stretched, and doubtful of your decisions at HGSE. But I dare say that choosing to invest your time in – and even make time for – projects and people that matter most to you, is something you will not regret. Time may be limited and beyond your control, but the memories you  create here at HGSE will be timeless – and yours to keep forever.

 

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

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3 questions to help decide where to live

Trying to decide where exactly to live in Harvard is tricky business, especially when you have never been to Cambridge, and you have to make your decision from halfway around the world (in my case, it was Beijing). If you wish to have Harvard University Housing (HUH) accommodation, you have to make your decision within a limited window of time, and you only have floor plans to visualize your potential abode. Yes, it can be highly frustrating when the clock is ticking, when there are no photos for your to take reference, and you basically have no clue where everything is. However, there are a few questions I found particularly helpful in making my decisions:

  1. What are the trade offs in choosing to live in this accommodation?
    Rental costs, start and lease dates, proximity to the school, accommodation layout, accommodation size… these are all common considerations in deciding where to live. However, finding a place that checks every single box on your “ideal” list is tough, and thus thinking in terms of what trade offs (pros and cons etc.) are acceptable to you might be more helpful.
  2. What are you unwilling to compromise on?
    You might also want to consider what you do not want to compromise on, no matter how many “pros” an accommodation seems to have. For me personally, I did not want a lease that started after my first week of the first semester, and ended before my final month of my last semester. I wanted lease dates that matched my semester start and end dates, so that I did not have to worry about looking for somewhere else to stay or paying for months that I would not be present.
  3. What first person perspectives can you reference from?
    I was fortunate that my partner was already in Cambridge the year before, and could survey the surroundings of accommodation we were interested in, before reporting back to me to help me visualize the area. If you can, try to get in touch with current students who can give you first hand information on their experience in house-hunting and living in the various HUH accommodation – information you can’t just learn from a floor plan.

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

Not sorry to burst your bubble

Pursuing a degree here at Harvard feels like living in a bubble world. Well, at least for me, I can’t speak for everyone else. Everyone else apart from your classmates has no idea what you do in your program (“Arts in Education? What’s that?”). You’re essentially living in a university town, where all aspects of life revolve around the university. You’re making connections to the theories, philosophies and ideas in the readings and in classes, but there is an inevitable distance between theory and practice most of the time. Living in a bubble world can be disconcerting and disengaging when you miss and crave “real” world connections from beyond. Fortunately, bubble surfaces are always thin and penetrable, meaning you can easily have this “real” world brought to you, or you can propel yourself out into the “real” world when opportunities arise.

In the Arts in Education classes, we’ve had special guests bring inspiring works by students, moving our hearts and firing up our passion as artists and educators. We gasped and cheered watching a live performance by youths from Citi Spotlights Leadership Program, and ; we shook with laughter and wiped away tears listening to the voice of a 2nd grade student from The Conservatory Lab Charter School narrate his story about a snake, where scientific inquiry and artistic pursuit and quality were inseparable.

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Youths from the City Spotlights Leadership Program performing their original work for us – a wonderful amalgamation of theater, song, spoken word, rap and dance.

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Ron Berger, Chief Program Officer of Expeditionary Learning Schools, speaks to us about models of excellence and creating cultures of quality for learners. He shares an example from The Conservatory Lab Charter School – the Slithering Snake Stories e-book.

But the “real” world doesn’t always make its away into our classrooms, so sometimes we leave the bubble world for adventures to invigorate our minds and bodies. My classmates and I made a day trip to Salem – just a subway ride and a train ride away from Harvard – where we lost ourselves in the beautiful galleries of the Peabody Essex Museum, and found ourselves exploring charming little shops and cafes. It’s amazing how refreshing it feels to step into another city and immerse yourself into a completely different atmosphere,  even if it’s just for a few precious hours.

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A beautiful Saturday morning well spent at the Peabody Essex Museum

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Chilling at Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem, before catching the train back to Boston

Living in a bubble world like Harvard isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with so many exciting learning opportunities to pursue here while being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts in your interest areas. But feeling connected to and experiencing the world outside of Harvard really can do wonders, especially when you feel exhausted and distanced from what really goes on in people’s lives beyond the papers and the lecture halls.

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Harvard STEAM collaborating with Harvard Arts Museums Technology Fellow Ming-Che Tu, Eru Matsumoto, and arts and education podcast series The Palette for an exciting project that explores deconstructing, recreating and translating across the mediums of visual art and music.

Rest assured, there are always ways to burst your bubble, and that is always a good thing.

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

All systems go in the snow

 

When I was an undergraduate in the UK several years ago, I found it nearly impossible to get up and trudge through the dreary English weather to make it in time for 9am lectures. So you can imagine how shocking it is that I am now not only happily making my 8.30am classes after navigating the snowy streets of Cambridge, but even voluntarily attending workshops and lectures on the weekends. Where is all the motivation coming from?!

Well… perhaps it’s the draw of purposeful, creative learning in the classroom; perhaps it’s the unique chance to experience student-led dynamic social justice workshops in a single day; perhaps it’s the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear several distinguished professors from different Harvard schools speak in one night. Whatever the motivation, it is clear that there is no stopping us from making the most out of our experience here at Harvard.

Or should I say… there’s s(no)w stopping us 🙂

 

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Excited about attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education Social Justice Workshops on a Saturday. But first, a photo with the resident snowman.

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Attending a workshop led by Zachary Herrmann on instructional strategies to promote equity in heterogeneous classrooms

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Relishing the rare opportunity to listen to short lectures by professors from different Harvard schools in the 2016 Harvard Lectures that Last

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Sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to admire the snow… before it’s back to business again

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

Ending with a colorful bang

I have learned that there are many ways in which finals week can unfold, as we approach the end of the fall semester. Of course the spikes in caffeine intake have been as expected, and thank goodness for J.P. Licks ice cream and Insomnia cookies to see me through the nights of frantic paper writing and project making. But finals week has also turned out to be packed with exciting happenings. In just this one week, I have: been blown away by the artistic talents of my peers at the Arts in Education (AIE) Inspirations Night and AIE Cabaret Night; witnessed the Designing for Learning by Creating project presentation madness that involved approximately 150 thirty-second presentations back to back; contributed to that very madness by initiating a human wave to launch the first episode of The Palette, the all-original arts and education podcast;  and had my mind set on fire by the inspiring Ethnic Studies and Education student presenters who inspired us all to re-imagine education. As I now head off to contemplate between a sugary or savory snack to power  through another paper, I shall let the pictures do the talking.

Inspirations night

Being serious about clowning around at AIE Inspirations Night

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Can’t quite get enough of laughter and talent at AIE Cabaret Night, part of Monday Night Remix

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And why yes, karaoke and lip sync battles might just happen in future Monday Night Remix evenings, watch this space

Mini Projects Gallery

Engaging with peers on our projects in our mini project gallery, for the class T600 Thinking and Learning Today and Tomorrow

Post Its

We have a tendency to use post-its to make our thinking visible…A LOT.

Gateway to madness presentation

Gateway to T550 madness presentation

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Snapshot moment before the human wave for the launch of The Palette podcast episode 1

Ethnic Studies presentation: stay woke media

Learning about Stay Woke Media in the Ethnic Studies and Education final presentation showcase

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

All work and no play? No way.

With only a few weeks left until the end of this semester, we are all left wondering: Where did all the time go?! It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re here, to be caught up in assignments and projects and meetings and… a whole lot of fun thrown into the mix. Before coming to Harvard Graduate School of Education, I was warned about how intense and how much work there was going to be, for most of us would only be here for less than a year. But I wasn’t warned about how much play there would be. Play in all forms one could possibly imagine: road trips, museum visits, in-class tic-tac-toe and video games, water color chemistry experiments… and the list just keeps getting longer. Don’t say nobody warned you!

Road tripping for the nth time with our best friend Google Maps.

Road tripping for the nth time with our best friend Google Maps.

Much to ponder about in the old house of American author Edith Wharton at The Mount

Much to ponder about in the old house of American author Edith Wharton at The Mount

Yelping our way through Portland, Maine.

Impossible lunch decisions while ambling along the cobblestone streets of Portland, Maine.

Wandering through the Portland Museum of Art

Wandering through the Portland Museum of Art

Experimenting with a classmate's all-original water color chemistry toolkit, in the course T550: Designing for Learning by Creating

Experimenting with a classmate’s all-original water color chemistry toolkit, in the course T550: Designing for Learning by Creating

Start the HT-500: Growing Up in a Media World class with special guest Scot Osterweil, AND tic-tac-toe? Why not.

Start the HT-500: Growing Up in a Media World class with special guest Scot Osterweil, AND a game of tic-tac-toe? Why not.

Late night trip to the Harvard Art Museum to celebrate Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, complete with art-inspired bites

Late night trip to the Harvard Art Museums to celebrate Corita Kent and the Language of Pop, complete with art-inspired bites

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

Where Passions and Peers Collide: 8 Weeks and Counting

Exactly 8 weeks ago, I began my journey as a masters student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, excited to be exploring my passion for the arts and education with my fellow classmates. Nothing could have prepared me for the most dynamic and beautiful intersection of arts, education, and friendships that came hurtling our way.

Exactly 8 weeks ago, I never would have imagined a learning voyage that would take me from the classroom to museums and concert halls; from seminars to podcast recordings and outdoor rehearsals; from presenting on children’s television and Muppets to playing with paint and feathers and yarn… and never a moment without company and laughter.

Exactly 8 weeks ago, I arrived at this school without knowing anyone or anything that was taking place within the school and around the city. 8 weeks on, I’m glad to say that nothing has stayed the same, and I hope nothing ever does.

Cheering fellow AIE classmate on in a spectacular concert by A Far Cry chamber orchestra

Cheering a fellow Arts in Education classmate on in a spectacular concert by A Far Cry chamber orchestra at the New England Conservatory.

Podcast recording about arts and education

Podcast recording about arts and education. Stay tuned for our launch date!

Playing around with art supplies in a maker space focused on art and healing

Playing around with art supplies in a maker space focused on art and healing, as part of the T550: Designing for Learning by Creating course.

Media presentation on Takalani Sesame and Kami, the world's first HIV positive muppet

Presenting on Takalani Sesame and Kami, the world’s first HIV positive Muppet.

Observing a Brazilian music ensemble. We swear this was homework.

Observing a Brazilian music ensemble rehearsal outdoors. We swear this was homework.

Playing matchmaker between music and visual art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Playing matchmaker between music and visual art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

SOUND VISION - a symposium on music and the visually impaired at the Berklee College of Music,

Attending SOUND VISION – a symposium on music and the visually impaired at the Berklee College of Music

Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.