Interdisciplinary Studies Field

Christine Ho - Language and Power

Christine’s area of concentration was Language and Power in Education; she remembers the inspiration that ISF Advisory Board member Claire Kramsch provided her. Christines thesis investigated how teachers can use language to empower students to learn, rather than to dis-empower and alienate them. Christine writes: This was inspired by my experiences at Cal, taking classes from professors who used language as a tool to help me learn and introduce me to their discipline…. as well as others whose language was so confusing and lofty that I felt disconnected and shut out from the discipline. After graduating, Christine went to USC to get a Master’s of Education. While there, she worked at a center that provided support to students with learning differences and ADHD. She also worked with student-athletes as a graduate student tutor. Near the end of her program, a job as a Learning Specialist (LS) at the Athletic Study Center at Berkeley opened up. Christine writes: “I was really excited for the challenge because I had been doing student support for non student-athletes for 5 years and wanted to do something more challenging. The LS position at Cal was new, and I was one of the two first LS’s ever hired to work with football. Since I did not have predecessors, my co-worker and I built the program up from scratch. There wasn’t a way that it was done before, so we had a lot of room to experiment, make mistakes, and improve the program. The ISF major prepared me tremendously for this challenge, because it taught me to be creative and persistent. When I was a student at Cal, I was not satisfied with the majors offered. Instead of complaining or forcing myself to fit into a major, I created my own. I learned that your options are not only the ones you see in front of you, but the ones you create if you are persistent enough and can handle failure and learn from it. As an undergraduate, I had no idea that a Learning Specialist position for student-athletes existed. However, I kept pursuing my passions and opening myself up to new challenges. As an educator at Cal, I get to chip away at a lot of the things I saw as issues when I was a student. Again, instead of complaining, I am inventing solutions and addressing issues creatively. I love what I do and care about my students deeply. I am thankful for my job every day and the education I received that helped prepare me for it.”

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