MSc Education StudiesHeather Kent, United States

Tell us a little bit about your background...
I am from the USA, originally from Connecticut but moved to Maine for college, where I received a bachelor’s for Music Education Pre-K - 12 and stayed there afterwards. I have played music since I was a child, started on the violin but soon changed to the viola and have continued playing in orchestras until the pandemic last year. I have worked as an Activities Assistant in a Memory Care Community working with residents that have Dementia and Alzheimer’s. While working there, I started an intergenerational music program, Musical Generations, where kids from the public and the residents experience and enjoy a music class together. Each month would have a different theme and every class the kids would hand out instruments to the residents, dance with them, and listen/sing music together. There have been friendships made within that class that are life-long. One friendship was with a 95-year-old Veteran and a 3-year-old girl, who are best friends to this day. Even with his Dementia, he remembers everything about her – this story made it to Good Morning America! I later transitioned to working as a Music Teacher at a nearby school teaching Pre-K – 8th grade music while making time to continue Musical Generations every week. While working at school, I offered after school music lessons for the students, but I also learned how to play ukulele in this time. I had the opportunity to lead a student choir, 9 – 11-year-olds, that sang at school functions but also caroled at different retirement communities in the town during the holidays. I taught at this school for a couple years before I decided to apply for my Masters and make the move to Scotland.

What inspired you to study your chosen subject at Strathclyde?
Having the opportunity to see learning and education in other contexts rather than in a classroom inspired me to look for a program that looked at education from another point of view. I was able to visit Scotland and have a meeting with the module leader who talked me through the course. This left me a little wary because of it being a one-year program and all the work that would need to be completed over this relatively short period of time, but I read through the module handbook and knew that it was the course I was looking for.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying your course?
Have an open mind, this course is not about a formal classroom experience but education everywhere else. 

Tell us a little bit about your experience on the course so far...
To be honest, it has not been easy, but I have learned a lot about myself and my study skills. For me, it is all about creating a schedule for completing schoolwork in a timely manner while still making time for myself at home. Some days have been harder than others, especially days when there is not a class scheduled because “why do I need to get up if I don’t have anything I need to do today?” or a gray and rainy day – that is where the schedule comes in handy. Making friends within my course is important for me since I am an international student and do not live on campus. I am very lucky to have found some great friends within my course that I can talk to about school or personal life whenever needed and they can always put a smile on my face.

What are your professional aspirations for the future?
I have thought about continuing my education through Strathclyde and applying for the PGDE course because Scottish education is held in such a high regard and it would potentially benefit my career experience from working in Scottish Education for a period of time. I would also like to continue and expand my knowledge and experience with intergenerational education, specifically in music. I think it is beneficial for young students and the older generations to get this type of experience.

How do you think this course will help prepare you for your future career?
This course has shown me how I can look at education in a different perspective than other educators, people may think that education and learning can just be found in a formal school setting, but education can be found almost anywhere – if you know how to look for it. This course has given me insight on different views about education and many ideas on how to educate.