B.A. in Dance; CLA&T Assistant Director
School of Education
May 1, 2010
CLA&T Assistant Director Promotes Benefits of Collaborative Partnerships in Arts Education
Jasmine Yep is the Assistant Director of the UCI Center for Learning through the Arts and Technology (CLA&T) in the Department of Education. Her passion for performing arts is fueled by her ongoing commitment to university-school partnerships and community engagement through arts education.
Jasmine’s work with the Center includes coordinating the annual ArtsBridge/CLA&T Conference and supporting arts education research projects directed by Dr. Liane Brouillette, Associate Professor of Education. Recent research projects with the Center have focused on arts education, literacy development, and teaching artist training. Projects include Reading In Motion, a kindergarten literacy and music curriculum, and Mapping the Beat, a multi-state project implementing interdisciplinary lessons in arts, geography, and history for grades 4-8. These projects support the extensive research showing the positive effects of the arts on student achievement, literacy development, and cognitive development.
As an undergraduate at UCI, Jasmine performed with Jodaiko, a collegiate Japanese taiko drumming ensemble, and choreographed and performed in productions in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. It was during her second year that she became involved with the ArtsBridge program. As a UCI ArtsBridge scholar, she developed and taught lessons that introduced dance, music, and theatre to elementary students in Irvine and Santa Ana Unified School Districts. Her first teaching assignment was a semester-project with an English Language Learner (ELL) fifth grade class in Santa Ana.
The students were studying migration patterns to the United States, and I wanted to encourage them to think about how environment and migration can lead to changes in traditional music and folk dances. I also wanted them to think about how the arts are one way that people connect to a community or culture. At the end of my first lesson I read El Chino, by Allen Say, about a Chinese American who migrates to Spain and becomes a famous bullfighter. I remember the students saying with pride “He’s Chinese and American, but he can speak Spanish. He is a matador in Spain!” These comments started a rich conversation about cultural identity and migration. Eventually, we explored the culture and history of Spain, China, and America. After my first day as a teaching artist, I was hooked by the unmistakable power of the arts to engage pupils in reading and the arts.
After Jasmine earned her BA in dance from UCI, she worked in the School of the Arts as the UCI ArtsBridge coordinator, under the direction of Dr. Jill Beck and Dr. Keith Fowler. In 2004, she moved to Wisconsin to serve as the national program director for ArtsBridge America. In this capacity Jasmine worked with university faculty and administrators throughout the Artsbridge network of 24 universities in 14 states to develop arts education programs for the benefit of K-12 schools. Concurrently, Jasmine directed the regional Artsbridge program at Lawrence University.
In 2008, Jasmine moved back to sunny California, and returned to work at UCI as a “proud anteater.”
Through her experiences Jasmine has recognized that the benefits of collaborative partnerships in arts education are twofold. First, university students can hone their skills as teaching artists through direct hands-on teaching experience in K-12 classrooms. Second, K-12 teachers receive professional development in the arts to equip them with the tools and resources needed to integrate the arts into future lessons of their own. In both cases, K-12 pupils benefit from the intrinsic value of the arts.
The power of the arts continues to inspire me to support opportunities that allow students to engage in arts education research and practice that foster creativity and inquiry. From cognitive development in primary schools, to empowering high school students with positive attainable goals, visual and performing arts can be used as an avenue to strengthen education and have an influence beyond the classroom.